Caltech, Pasadena, California
Associate Research Scientist
I've always wanted to be an astronomer, ever since I was very little. I went to William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA and majored in physics. (I took a lot of colonial American history too.) I went to grad school in astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago. In college, math was a tool to be gotten through as soon as possible so you could get to the physics, and in graduate school, physics was a tool to be gotten through as soon as possible so you could get to the astrophysics!
My research focuses on young, low-mass stars all over our Galaxy, using Spitzer as well as many other telescopes. I study how they form, how their disks form and evolve, and how young stars and their disks change with time, specifically their rotation and accretion. As of April 2013, I have 85 refereed publications and an h-index of 33.
I really enjoy sharing what I do with the general public. I feel strongly that since taxpayers help pay for my salary, that they deserve to find out what I do in terms that they can understand. I've done lots of education and public outreach things, but a unifying theme is working with the general public and/or teachers (not so much working in a classroom). In the 90s, I helped found an organization called CUIP that brought the internet (T-1 lines) to 29 inner-city schools around the University of Chicago, and I worked intensively with scientist-teacher partnerships as part of that program; CUIP continues to work with the teachers to enhance teaching and learning through the use of the internet and other computer technologies. When the Spitzer Space Telescope Research Program for Teachers and Students started, I was totally and immediately on board. That program eventually evolved into NITARP. I've mentored several teacher teams, linked below. Between NITARP, the Spitzer program, and CUIP, I've been working in and learning from scientist-teacher partnerships for more than 15 years.
NITARP director Luisa Rebull has an article in Physics Today for February 2024 that highlights NITARP as well as several other programs that get astronomy data into the hands of teachers and students. There are pictures from NITARP visits in the article!
Dr. Rebull took a poster heavily based on NITARP activities to the conference Surveying the Milky Way: The Universe in Our Own Backyard. It was entitled, "Using IRSA's Milky Way Surveys In Education and Public Outreach."
Luisa Rebull held a NITARP tutorial about ds9.
Luisa Rebull held a NITARP tutorial about WISE -- the satellite and the data archive.
NITARP was given a NASA Group Achievement Award. The citation reads, "For inspiring teachers and future scientists through participation in actual astronomical research collaborations." Dr. Rebull accepted the award on behalf of the team.
The Spitzer Space Telescope Program for Teachers and Students received a NASA Group Achievement Award "for significant contributions to Education and Public Outreach and for an outstanding performance in developing and implementing the Spitzer Space Telescope observing program." Dr. Rebull accepted the award on behalf of the team.
The teachers who I have met through NITARP are just amazing. I am continually impressed by how hard they work and how enthusiastically they learn.