Forty-Five Years of Turning Data Into Science: 1973-2018

By Jessica Mink (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory)

A talk at the 50th anniversary of the founding of the MIT Planetary Astronomy Laboratory, April 17, 2018

Over the past 46 years, I've developed some amount of skill at turning bits of information produced by instruments on telescopes into images and spectra of objects in the sky. It's turned out that it has been possible to make a living putting this knowledge to work on a number of interesting projects from the moon to our solar system's planets, satellites, rings, and asteroids to the stars of our Mily Way galaxy and the planets which orbit them to distant galaxies which help us to learn about the Large Scale Structure of the universe.

This talk was assembled on the occasion of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology laboratory at MIT where I got my start analyzing data for the first offering of 12.143, Experimental Optical Astronomy with Tom McCord, reducing lunar spectra as a Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) student for Carle Pieters, and reducing and analyzing spectra of the Martian surface from the first 2-D digital spectrograph for my Masters thesis with Bob Huguenin.

Here are my photos of the event.