Douglas A. Roberts
Director, Space Visualization Laboratory at the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
I was first captured by the excitement of astronomy after seeing the PBS Series "Cosmos." After that, I started reading both science and science fiction books. My family encouraged my interest and took me on a drop the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which convinced me to become a scientist. I did my Ph.D. research using the Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico (seen at the beginning of the movies "Contact" and "2010"). After getting my degree, I worked at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Champaign Illinois and there I started using sophisticated (for the time) tools to visualize my data. Then I moved to Chicago and worked in a joint capacity between Northwestern University and the Adler Planetarium. In both places, I tried to use computer technology to understand the amazing images and datasets returned by various telescopes. My primary scientific interest is to understand how gas orbits the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.