Live Event: October 27, 2016 at 1:00pm Eastern
Mark Devlin is an Astrophysicist at the University of Pennsylvania. He designs and builds telescopes and instruments in order to study how the Universe evolved. We asked him a few questions about himself and his STEM career to get to know him and his work a bit better before his live event.
Learn More About Mark
What are your favorite hobbies or activities you do for fun?
Mountain bike riding, trail running
What is your favorite non-science book, magazine, or blog?
What’s your favorite song?
Maroon 5 – Sugar
Who do you look up to and admire?
Highest degree attained
University of Wisconsin, University of California – Berkeley
What educational accomplishments are you most proud of?
I was pretty happy getting my PhD.
What kinds of challenges did you overcome during your education?
It’s a lot of work… But if you enjoy it, it does not always seem that way!
University of Pennsylvania
Years in this organization/position
What does your organization do?
Describe your work environment
Lots of students to teach…very dynamic.
What tools and/or techniques do you use in your job?
Everything… Astronomy, physics, engineering, English. We use it all!
Describe a typical day in your job
Work in the lab. Meet with students. Talk with collaborators.
Describe an atypical day in your job
Walk across the ice shelf at the South Pole.
How is the work you do important to society?
Education and basic research… I think everyone benefits when we do a good job at this.
What accomplishments are you most proud of in your current role?
I have many things. But building and flying telescopes over Antarctica and one in Chile are pretty cool.
What projects or goals are you currently pursuing?
Building a huge observatory in Chile.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?
Keeping everyone happy, busy,and productive.
What is the most exciting, most amazing, or scariest thing that has happened to you during your work?
Launching a $5,000,000 telescope over Antarctica is pretty thrilling.
Previous employers and positions that have lead to your current role
Graduate student at Berkeley. Post graduate researcher at Princeton.
Best job you’ve ever had and why
I’ve got it.
Worst job you’ve ever had and why
Cleaning toilets at the local grocery store.
What were you like as a kid?
I was very overweight as a child. I discovered biking and “grew” out of it. The bullying I got has probably shaped my personality a bit!
What were your favorite books/shows/movies when you were a kid?
Star Wars and lots of science fiction books. The Foundation series by Asimov.
What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
From 6th grade on…I said I wanted to be a physicist. Stuck to it, I guess.
When did you know you wanted to pursue your current career, and what drove you towards it?
My father is a physicist. I knew what it was like early on.
Who inspired you on this path?
What did you believe about this career before entering into it that proved to be different once you were in?
I didn’t realize how difficult the path could be. On the other hand, I did not know how rewarding the successes could be.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what other career(s) might you have pursued?
What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your career?
Do what makes you happy. If it is science… Take lots of math early on.
What advice would you give students in general?
Like I said, do what makes you happy. Don’t obsess with making lots of money.
What are some interesting places you’ve traveled?
Antarctica, Chile, Sweden, New Zealand, South Korea…
BLAST! the Movie.