Adler Staff Star: Meet Geza
What do you enjoy the most about working at the Adler?
I think it is the variety. As an astronomer I’ve gotten to do a bit of everything over the years: show production, exhibits, building scientific equipment, speaking to large audiences, mentoring one-on-one, flying balloons to the edge of space, speaking with the media… it is always something exciting. I never know what will be next. I can’t say it has been non-stop fun, but it has been deeply satisfying to reach so many people and help them make connections to astronomy that will last a lifetime.
Tell us a little bit about your research.
I’m interested in everything under the Sun! So it is difficult to pick just a bit. In years past I’ve studied the structure of our Milky Way galaxy, how really old white dwarves cool down, the outer atmospheres of extrasolar planets, the orbits of basaltic asteroids, the extremely high energy gamma-rays emitted by supermassive black holes and the effect of massive unstable neutrinos on the Big Bang. Right now I’m most interested in designing a series of quick, cheap missions to Near Earth Asteroids. What kind of information can you get back? What do you need to make sure the impactor hits the target asteroid? How long would the mission take?
What is your favorite sky show or exhibition?
There have been so many! I guess if I had to pick I’d say the “Touch the Solar System” kiosks. I find something profoundly exciting about being able to actually touch a piece of another planet. It connects me to the planets in a real, tangible way that just learning about or studying them doesn’t. And the story of how these pieces of Mars, the Moon, and asteroids got to the Earth is exciting and beautiful.
What is your favorite Adler memory?
I try not to pick favorites! But this past summer, standing with hundreds of people staring up at the 2017 eclipse as it reached totality has to rank up there at the top! We had a perfect day: a balloon launch to 360º-video the eclipse from the stratosphere, a chance to talk with a crowd of hundreds, and then the eclipse itself. I’m looking forward to 2024!
Share one fun fact about yourself!
I’m a Libra… no seriously, I have no idea! How about: I spent much of my childhood in Kuwait. When I was 4 years old my parents decided to move the family for a couple years to Kuwait. I think it was a sort of lark for them. But two years turned into four and then six years. I went to a school for British expatriates and picked up quite a strong British accent. More than a third of a century later I still have traces of it! If you want something more recent, I seem to have a passion for “aerial” hobbies: racing drones, high powered rocketry, parafoil kites. Maybe I should have been a pilot?