As a child I heard talk about Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the Moon and saw the first Viking Lander image of the surface of Mars. These things looked totally amazing and unobtainable from my small Michigan farming town. Then, as a young adult I read many works from Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan and I became more interested. So I went to college to learn about space and rocketry and I joined The Planetary Society. Today, I am a member of The Planetary Society and the Tacoma Astronomical Society. Tonight the Tacoma Astronomical Society hosts a free ... more »
I am a postdoc at Los Alamos National Lab and I study the sky that our eyes can't see--the gamma-ray sky. These are the highest energy photons known and come from some of the coolest most extreme cosmic processes. I work with the High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Telescope, which doesn't look like a conventional telescope. But this is what you need to "see" gamma rays.
When I was a young boy in the 1960s, my mother and I visited with a good friend of hers. Her friend's son was watching Star Trek, so I sat next to him and what I saw I thought was so cool. It was the episode where Captain Kirk was on this planet with a Lizard like creature named the Gorn. They had to battle each other to the death. Another influence was the landing on the Moon in 1969. I watched it on a black and white TV. These two incidents in my young age influenced me, and ever ... more »