Adler Staff Star: Meet Mark
Astronomer and Director of the Space Visualization Laboratory
What do you enjoy most about working at the Adler?
I’m really lucky to do what I’m passionate about: Sharing what we know about the the Universe and finding new ways to do that more effectively.
What’s your favorite exhibition or sky show at the Adler?
I refuse to answer that—it’s like choosing between my children! Right now we are really proud of Planet Nine. Cosmic Wonder was also very special because we created a new type of planetarium show. The Space Visualization Laboratory is central to everything we create because of the direct feedback we get from visitors.
What’s your fondest Adler memory?
Once, when I was sitting on the 146 bus waiting to go home, I met a couple who had just gotten married. They had walked all the way from City Hall to Adler after their wedding only to find it closed. So, I took them in after-hours and gave them and gave them a private tour.
What does the Adler mission mean to you?
As an Astronomer, we’re privileged to be part of the great endeavor of expanding humanity’s knowledge. Communicating our progress in that quest is what Adler is all about.
What is the most memorable thing you have done during your time at the Adler?
Giving a private tour to NASA Astronaut Captain Jim Lovell, his son, and grandson—that was pretty awesome.
Why, in your opinion, is space freaking awesome?
The Universe is BIG, incredibly, mind bogglingly BIG.
What goal do you have for the Adler in 2016?
We are doing some really cutting-edge science communication work at the Adler, and I’d like to make more people aware of this—from people in Chicagoland to our museum colleagues around the world.
What is one fun fact about you?
I was born on April Fools’ Day!
What do you like do to outside the Adler?
I’m a foodie, and enjoy exploring the great ethnic foods we have in Chicago.