Jeff Hester to write monthly science column in "Astronomy" magazine

Posted by David Eicher
on Friday, January 30, 2015

Beginning with the June issue of Astronomy, on newsstands in early May, readers will get their first taste of a real treat. World-renowned astrophysicist Jeff Hester will commence a monthly column that will explore a wide range of topics in astronomy and allied sciences. The first installment of “For Your Consideration” will celebrate what a special time we enjoy in terms of understanding the universe, and the topics to come will surprise you!

For those of you who don’t know Jeff, here is a biographical summary:

After earning his doctorate in space physics and astronomy from Rice University, Jeff Hester moved west to the California Institute of Technology. There he joined the team responsible for the Hubble Space Telescope Wide-Field and Planetary Camera (WFPC). So began a career that placed Hester in a front-row seat for some of the most extraordinary events in the history of science.

Shortly after the launch of Hubble, Hester found himself sitting in front of a computer on live nationwide television when the first image from the telescope was radioed to ground. It was that image that alerted people to the possibility that something was amiss. He went on to join the science team responsible for the WFPC2, the camera that fixed Hubble. What was his take on the experience when the first image was radioed back after the servicing mission? “It was a lot more fun the second time around!”

During his scientific career, Hester worked on a variety of astrophysical questions. He is especially well known for his work on star formation, supernova remnants, pulsar winds, and the early history of the solar system. His Hubble image of the Eagle Nebula (commonly referred to as “The Pillars of Creation”) is arguably the most famous astronomical image of all time. It was featured on a U.S. postage stamp, and last year Time magazine selected the image as among the 100 most influential photographs in history.

Hester is known for the depth and breadth of his insights as well as his uncommon ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible and entertaining way. He has appeared in dozens of televised documentaries discussing his work, not to mention a commercial for an Irish hard cider. Broadcaster Hugh Downs has referred to Jeff as, “one of the greatest explainers in our midst today.”

Hester recently took early retirement from Arizona State University after spending 20 years on the faculty. He is now working as a speaker and certified professional coach, sharing his experience and insight with individuals and organizations looking for success in changing times. “Everyone looks at the world through their own lens. I help them sharpen their focus,” he says.

I invite you to get ready for many enjoyable writings from Jeff in the future, and be sure to check out his hourlong Superstars of Astronomy interview.

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