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SIRTF Profiles: Nancy Silbermann

SIRTF Science Center Observer Support Scientist

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I grew up in Wyoming where the night skies are inky dark and the Milky Way practically jumps out at you. I remember the long walks to high school on quiet, dark winter mornings with Orion and Canis Major dominating the southern sky. A bright planet or two might be out and a crescent Moon completed the picture. I looked forward to these walks to school, especially in winter, because of the early morning sky.

When I was in junior high school I saw an eclipse of the Sun. Since that time I have been hooked on astronomy. I took all the science and math classes I could in junior high and high school to prepare myself for a career in astronomy. I obtained my B.S. and M.S. degrees at the University of Wyoming. I completed my Ph.D. at Michigan State University, studying the RR Lyrae variable stars in the globular cluster M15.

I came to Southern California as a post-doctoral student at IPAC working with Barry Madore and the HST Key Project on the Extragalactic Distance Scale. During the last year of the post-doc I realized that I really liked living in Southern California and wanted to stay. I am one of the few lucky people that lives just a short walk from work, and the San Gabriel Mountains, where I love to hike, are right here too.

I started working with George Helou (at IPAC) and the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) Key Project on Normal Galaxies to complete my post-doc. That lead to a staff position within the ISO support group for U.S. observers at IPAC and my first taste of observer support. I loved it!

As the ISO support work was winding down, I started thinking about what my next career move would be. I was thinking about system administration but then these SIRTF Science Center people kept nagging me. After listening to Bill Latter ask me 'why don't you want to work for SIRTF?' every time he came into the office I shared with his post-doc Aditya, I made the move. In October 1999 I was assimilated. I am an observer support scientist at the SIRTF Science Center. And I love my job!

I just wish it would snow every once in a while here in Pasadena...

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