Las Cumbres Observatory
In August 2019 I became the Director of the Las Cumbres Observatory, moving from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where I was the Project Manager for the Spitzer and NuSTAR missions.
A supermassive black hole surrounded by a swirling disk of material falling into it. The purplish ball of light above the black hole, a feature called the corona, contains highly energetic particles that generate X-ray light
The TRAPPIST-1 exoplanet system. Seven planets orbiting a dwarf K-star 40 light years from Earth. Three of the planets are in the star's habitable zone.
Maria and Bella at Cannon Beach
I have a PhD in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Cambridge. For my thesis work I used very distant quasars as search lights to study the galaxies illuminated along the path to the quasars. I studied physics and business at the University of Washington and have Bachelor's degrees in both and a Master's degree in physics. I held postdoctoral positions at UC San Diego and the Carnegie Observatories before joining the SIRTF Science Center at Caltech in 1999, four years before the launch of the mission that became Spitzer. In 2016 I moved from Caltech to JPL as the Spitzer and NuSTAR project manager. In August 2019 I moved to Santa Barbara to take the position of Director of the Las Cumbres Observatory.
I have two lovely flat-coat retrievers who are so happy that we now live near the beach in Santa Barbara (as are the humans in the family). In 2015 I earned by karate black belt. I enjoy sewing, quilting, baking, putting together puzzles, and reading.
The Las Cumbres Observatory Faulkes Telescope North on Haleakala and our home galaxy, the Milky Way. Photo taken by amateur astronomer Rakhal Kinkaid.