SIRTF Profiles: Nancy Silbermann
SIRTF Science Center Observer Support Scientist
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...