TRAVELING INTO THE UNKNOWN
Dr. Mark Hammergren, astronomer at Chicagoís Adler Planetarium
From Dr. Mark Hammergren:
Q: What is an astronomer?
A: An astronomer is a scientist who studies the universe and everything inside of it.
Nowadays, this includes subjects like biology and, of course, history.
Q: Why do astronomers need to study history?
A: Because to know where weíre going, we need to know where we have been
in terms of science and the whole human experience.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being an astronomer?
A: Discovery. I have the chance to see things and understand things that
no human has ever seen or done before. Itís almost like ďStar Trek.Ē
Q: Did you always want to be an astronomer?
A: Iíve always been interested in space, but for a long time,
I thought I was going to be a rocket scientist.
Then, I found out that I was really good at astronomy, and that I really liked it,
and also that I could get paid for doing it!
Q: What do you have to do to become an astronomer?
A: To be an astronomer you have to go to college and get a bachelorís
degree in a physical science, usually in physics. Then, you have to
continue on to graduate school to study astronomy.
Q: What advice do you have for kids who want to become astronomers?
A: Work on your math and science skills, and also make sure you can work
well with other people. Most science is done with groups of researchers.
Q: What is your favorite thing to look at through a telescope?
A: Most of my research has been on asteroids, but Iíve always been fond
of the planet Mars. I think Mars, of any planet in our Solar System, looks
most like the Earth. I can imagine that I am exploring its surface and
living in a colony there.
Q: Do you think aliens exist?
A: Iím sure life exists elsewhere in the universe, and Iím pretty sure
that other intelligent life exists, but maybe not in our own galaxy.
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