Brian is a staff scientist at Fermilab.
Brian works on Milky Way halo studies (how’s the dark matter arranged). He also works on DESDM pipeline vetting and upgrade planning (this means he’s considered too dangerous to actually write code!)
The photo is a picture of a ‘White Spot’ in the Blanco 4m dome. It’s used for flat fielding, but I find it to have much deeper significance. From a distance it looks like a flawless, perfectly white round spot. Up close, of course, it is not perfect, not quite round and not completely white. As always, in science and in life, we must make imperfect (and from a distance elegant) attempts to reach higher.
We asked Brian a few more questions – here’s what he had to say…
What is your favorite part about being a scientist?
Freedom to explore the contents of the universe.
What motivates / inspires you?
I enjoy seeing young people get interested in science questions!
What is your favorite space-related image and why?
I enjoy the views of Earth seen from far away, like the Pale Blue Dot (shown above), because they help me to keep a proper perspective on things.
What is your favorite book, movie, and/or TV show?
The BBC cranks out quite a few good shows which play in the United States on PBS.
Thinking back to when you were an undergrad in physics, was there anything you were taught then that is not taught now?
“There are nine planets in the solar system.” I was taught this in philosophy modal logic class as an example of a possible, not a necessary, truth, as well as in Physics and Astronomy class.
What do you think has been the most exciting advance in science / technology in the last 10 years?
The lowering of the cost of solar panels is the most exciting technology change in the past 10 years.
Any advice for aspiring scientists?
Keep asking questions and demand an answer until it makes sense, and then ask some more. Though, work a bit to try to answer these questions yourself first, but after you’ve put in the effort, then don’t be afraid to bother others.