Dr. Bruce Balick
Dr Bruce Balick (2008)
Hubble's Double Bubble
Hubble 5, a striking bipolar planetary nebula (Credit: B. Balick, V. Icke, G. Mellema, NASA HST).
M 2-9
M 2-9 "Siamese Squid Nebula" or "Twinjet Nebula" (Credit: B. Balick, V. Icke, G. Mellema, NASA HST).

More Summer Student Stories

The NRAO Summer Student Program:
Celebrating Five Decades of Training Young Scientists

Dr. Bruce Balick
Professor, Department of Astronomy,
University of Washington, Seattle, WA

NRAO Summer Student: 1968, Charlottesville
NRAO Mentor: Robert Rubin
NRAO Project: "Nebular Emission Line Excitation Models "

NRAO Summer Student: 1969, Charlottesville
NRAO Mentor: Robert Hjellming
NRAO Project: "Models of Nebular Ionization Structure"

Ph.D., Cornell University
B.S., Beloit College

I can't think of one opportunity that did more to forge my scientific career than the summer student programs of 1968 and 1969. One of the connections that I made at NRAO that first summer was my future PhD research advisor, Bob Hjellming with whom I worked the following summer when I returned. There were many others, both staff, visiting observers, and fellow summer students, who became my professional collaborators at one time or another over the next 15 years ‹ and friends for life. NRAO was an incredible incubator, and the summer student program was a fantastic model for motivating the students that I have mentored in research.

The summer program was just the start of my association with NRAO: I returned for my thesis research and then remained as a postdoc for two years. Although I've since wandered into other technical fields of interest, the support and camaraderie that I enjoyed at NRAO were awesome.

My research interests currently range from star formation to the final throes of stellar evolution; in particular, how the planetary nebulae that surround these stars might reveal the history of formation and evolution of stars in various phases in which gas infall or outflow occurs. I am an active user of large ground-based optical and radio telescopes, and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). I recently served on the design team for the next generation HST imager, Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), that will be installed by NASA astronauts in May 2009.

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