Erin Sheldon


Erin is a member of faculty at the Brookhaven National Laboratory.


He is interested in the history and properties of our universe, how the
universe evolved from an apparently simple beginning into the beautiful and complex universe we see today. He’s using weak gravitational lensing to learn about this in the Dark Energy Survey. Currently his everyday work involves making the basic measurements we use for gravitational lensing, determining the galaxy ellipticities and the calibration of the lensing signal.


Erin is a leading author of one of the 10 recently released papers on and in support of the DES cosmology results from the first year (Y1) of the survey.



We asked Erin a few more questions — here’s what he had to say:

What is your favorite part about being a scientist?

I get to work on problems that will lead me to a better understanding of the things that most interest me: the history of the universe and its content.

When did you know you wanted to be a scientist?

When I was about 8 years old I knew I wanted to be either an astrophysicist or a paleontologist.

What motivates / inspires you? 

Beautiful connectedness, as seen in our universe, art, music, poetry and literature.

Do you have any hobbies or take part in sports?

I enjoy singing and playing music, reading literature, and spending time in nature.

What is your favorite space-related image, and why?

My current favorite image is one we took in DES, and for which I recently made a color composite.

If you weren’t a scientist, what would your dream job be?

I would be a musician.

What do you think has been the most exciting advance in physics / astronomy in the last 10 years? 

The discovery of the accelerating universe.

Any advice for aspiring scientists?

Find your own internal motivation and put your energy into that. There are many external requirements you must meet to become a scientist, and these may seem burdensome, but if you maintain your inner motivation, excitement and wonder you will have a good chance of success.