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hometown: Cincinnati, OH, United States
degree: PhD Astronomy Univ. of Colorado, Boulder
career: Planetary Geologiest
workplace: Southwest Research Institute / University of Colorado, Boulder
I went through college knowing I wanted to study "something close to home." Thinking of the giant scales of galaxies and cosmology gave me headaches and nothing with which I could relate in every-day experiences. I entered grad school still without much direction until I had to do a project for a planetary surfaces class: Count craters. And I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would. My final project for the class on modeling craters started me on my path for the last several years of studying craters on Mars - creating a global database numbering almost 650,000 craters. I've since said, "Give me a solid surface upon which to stand and I will find you a crater." My research focus is on understanding how craters can be used to tell us many different properties about the surfaces upon which they formed and why they are the way they are. // I haven't strayed too far, though, from that original idea of trying to relate to every-day experiences. When I give public talks, teach classes, or write in my blog or record my podcast, I try to relate the concepts and problems to what people have contact with in their daily lives. Besides my own research, my goal is to be able to convey what I do and how science is done in general to the public at large.