I have been an amateur astronomer for nine years and while I find most everything about space to be extremely fascinating, the other half of my excitement stems from sharing the wonders of astronomy with others. And although I am very content with my occupation conducting research in the areas of cancer and HIV, I feel that my real calling is in education. I am thirty seven years old and I want to be a teacher when I grow up! I have three boys eight and under and my wife is also going to be an educator.
Already having embraced astronomy, some of my most memorable experiences have been watching, in real time through a telescope, the impacts of comet Shoemaker-Levy on Jupiter, spending a very memorable July 4th watching and listening as the Mars Pathfinder mission bounced down on the surface of Mars, and looking at the light from a celestial object enter a child's eye as she peers through one of my telescopes. How about recording meteor observations and sending them in to be included in an international meteor shower count? And what about the now frequent discoveries of extrasolar planets? With the current and proposed missions for space exploration, the public has nothing but very exciting discoveries to look forward to.
Some of the events that I am planning for this year include many school lectures, inflatable planetarium shows, and campground lectures and star parties. Besides star parties at schools, I also will host a star party at a shelter for abused and neglected children and for our elderly citizens in assisted living residences. Really, the sky is the limit!
I am now conducting gene expression research in the fields of gene therapy and toxicology.