Astronomers

Researchers with upcoming projects at McDonald Observatory include:

Chris teaches astronomy at Rice University, in Houston, Texas. Most of his current work is devoted to studying T Tauri stars, which are low-mass, young stars that have only recently emerged from...
While most people tend to see astronomy as a romantic and intellectual endeavor, Phil Kelton, Acting Superintendent of McDonald Observatory, is very aware of the nitty gritty parts of running an...
Mukremin Kilic grew up in a city outside Istanbul. After attending a math and science high school, he majored in physics at the Bogazici (Bosphorus) University. Following his graduate career at The...
Eiichiro Komatsu, professor of astronomy at the University of Texas, loves to play and watch baseball. He says he feels a kinship with the current Japanese baseball players playing for the major...
John Kormendy
Well known for his work on supermassive black holes in galactic nuclei, John Kormendy has done substantial work in other areas as well, notably the study of galactic bulges, the evolution of...
Pawan Kumar perhaps does not fit the popular conception of an astronomer -- he is rarely to be found burning the midnight oil in an observatory. Rather, you'd more likely find him working at the...
John Lacy did not consider himself an amateur astronomer. He's always liked looking at the stars, and his father pointed out constellations to him when he was a boy, but it wasn't until a friend in...
David grew up in Kent, England, just south of London. He attended an all-boys grammar school (i.e., high school). As a junior there, he won a competition for which the prize was thirty shillings...
Whenever research scientist Dan Lester needs to blow off some steam he turns to the relaxing powers of dough. Since watching his mother when he was child, one of Dan's favorite hobbies has been to...
Earle Luck earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia and then pursued his doctoral degree at the University of Texas, Austin under the advisement of David Lambert. While at UT,...
University of Texas Postdoctoral Fellow Thomas Maas was always good at math, he says. Growing up in Belgium, he attended the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (the largest Flemish university in the...
Rice University graduate student Naved Mahmud grew up in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a city with a lot of light pollutution. So he was not able to observe stars growing up, but he says he read and watched a...
Pam Marcum says she first became interested in astronomy in her early teens after reading a book on stellar evolution. She was fascinated by the idea the Sun wouldn't always be the same as it is...
Indeed, Howie Marion, a graduate of UT Austin, has had an interesting path. Howie grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and, at an early age, became interested in sailing. This interest would later...
Texas A&M astronomer Jennifer Marshall leads a group of scientists that build astronomical instruments at Texas A&M's Munnerlyn Laboratory. She is leading the effort to build a revolutionary...
"Since the age of seven, I wanted to be an astronomer," Paul Mason says. Growing up in Lakeland, Florida, he used to watch the Apollo Moon launches. "I could see them from my house," he says....
Barbara McArthur is a Research Scientist at McDonald Observatory.
"I dreamed of studying stars and outer space," graduate student Nicholas McConnell shares. "That I'm actually doing it for a job? I can't believe it sometimes." "It's like solving puzzles and riddles...
Anatoly Miroshnichenko was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia). As a teenager, he became an amateur astronomer. He went on to study astronomy in college, and explains that his training...
If he weren't an astronomer, Mike Montgomery says he would have become a professional musician. Mike plays violin, and enjoys playing what he calls "root-based music. Old-time music, bluegrass, blues...
Sharon Montgomery is an associate professor and chair of the Physics department at Clarion University in Clarion, Pennsylvania. Sharon received her bachelor's degree in physics from Allegheny College...
Graduate student Jeremy Murphy loves astronomy because it's dark and mysterious. "Astronomy is one of the oldest and most mysterious of all the sciences, and dark matter is one of the most...
Doug O'Neal says he remembers perusing children's books on planets when he was as young as eight years old. He was later encouraged by one of his middle school teachers who suggested all the students...
Whenever Steve Odewahn needs to relieve a little stress, he heads for the woodpile and the power tools. His furniture building hobby began while he was doing post doctoral work at Caltech. Wanting a...
Roderik Overzier
Roderik Overzier is a postdoctoral fellow in astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin. He hails from the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
Katja Poppenhaeger
Katja Poppenhaeger grew up in Germany. She says she liked science and stargazing as a child, and knew by the age of 10 that she wanted to be a physicist. She didn't decide on a career in astrophysics...
"I don't even remember what we looked at, but I fell instantly in love," says William Lee Powell as he reflects on his childhood encounters with astronomy. Following his father, a pipeline engineer,...
Lisa Prato was an English Literature major for much of her college career. By her third year, she reasoned that while reading and writing could be done anytime, science would be more difficult to...
Robert Quimby didn't plan on being an astronomer. In fact, as he was growing up, he says he was encouraged by his family to take up engineering. But when he graduated from high school and it came...
In Lima, Peru, there aren't too many stars to see in the sky. With a population of about eight million, the bustling city isn't very good for stargazing. Despite this, it's the place where...
Bacham Reddy is an astronomer at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics in Bangalore. In 2003, he finished up a postdoctoral fellowship at The University of Texas. Bacham works closely with Texas...
"Tell them life is worthwhile when you come from a place like Nebraska," sings the state ballad for the Cornhusker State. Indeed Nebraska-native Seth Redfield's contentedness with life is obvious as...
Rob studied astronomy as an undergraduate at The University of Arizona. However, he had "more physics credits than any physics major that graduated that year. It wasn't astronomy instead of physics,...
In Indiana, basketball is a way of life. Both of Ian Roederer's parents are Indiana University alumni and gave him the name Ian Ulysses, or "IU". As a child growing up on Indiana basketball, the...
Brian Roman is a Research Engineer/Scientist Associate at McDonald Observatory. Brian first came to the Observatory to become a telescope operator for the HET, and then moved into a position as a...
Simon Schuler grew up in Hastings, a small town in southern Michigan, but now he finds himself on the other side of the world. Simon is working in a post-doctoral fellowship at the Cerro Tololo Inter...
As a young child, Matt Shetrone loved to explore. He says he'd go hiking with his Boy Scout troop, marveling at archaeological finds. Later, he embarked on travels to Australia and Europe. Today,...
Greg Shields says he became interested in astronomy around third grade as he was growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska. In fifth grade he bought a four-inch telescope to see the close approach of Mars,...
Mike Siegel is research associate at Penn State University; previously he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Virginia...
Julia Silge, astronomy graduate student at The University of Texas, has always had a love for reading, literature, and language. As a child in Fort Worth, Texas, she remembers choosing to focus on...
Roberto Silvotti is a research astronomer at the Observatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte in Naples, Italy. His research focuses on several areas involving pulsating stars, especially white dwarfs,...
Chris Sneden
"I can remember the exact moment when I became interested in astronomy," says astronomer Chris Sneden, professor at The University of Texas. He was at his home in Pennsylvania, listening to a...
As a young girl, Jennifer Sobeck had the same dream that many young children had — she wanted to be an astronaut. While most children eventually grew out of that phase, Jennifer's love of the...
Jocelyn Tomkin, Research Fellow at The University of Texas, has always been fascinated with astronomy. Even as a child, he enjoyed stargazing with his small refracting telescope. Little did he know...
Imagine holding your breath for six minutes while dropping in over 50 meters of water. At 30 meters, all light from the surface is gone; at 45 meters, your lungs begin to fill with fluids. You...
Faith Vilas is a space scientist at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. At NASA, she pursues work in both observing astronomical phenomena and building her own instruments with which to...
Anne-Marie Weijmans grew up in the Netherlands. As a child, she says she wasn't yet a stargazer, but did show interest in the stars and planets. She says she read everything she could about them. It...
"I'm into power lifting," said University of Texas graduate student Tim Weinzirl. "I have a strong interest in physical culture. I train with weights — squat, dead lifts, bench press — three times...