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American Astrophysicist Dr Kim Weaver was born on 19 April 1964 in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Dr Weaver says:
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I have always loved astronomy. As a child I was lucky enough to have parents and grandparents who encouraged this love of astronomy and gave me some pretty amazing books to read. My favorite was a book that had lots of visible images and artists' impressions of stars and galaxies. Although the images were grainy and fuzzy (it was the 1970's, after all, and optical telescopes were still somewhat inadequate for detailed pictures), I would spend hours staring at the photographs and wondering what these objects were really like.

In her 20s, she had already discovered a galaxy and been awarded a PhD for her study of "The Complex Broad-band X-ray Spectra of Seyfert Galaxies". Soon after that she received a Presidential Early Career award to continue her X-ray work on black holes. She has had various jobs, including that of Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters for the Spitzer Space Telescope, Associate Director for Science at NASA's Goddard Flight Center, and more recently, US Project Scientist for XMM-Newton, an X-ray space observatory launched by the European Space Agency.

Dr Weaver says:
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I chose to work in the field of x-ray astronomy because of the thrill and excitement of the new ways of looking at our universe that are available to today's astronomers. X-rays were discovered a mere 110 years ago and it has only been 40 years since we developed the technology to send x-ray telescopes into space.

And she's not selfish about hoarding the excitement of X-Ray astronomy.
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I have always wanted to understand more about how our universe works and I especially enjoy communicating this information to others. We cannot see x-rays with our eyes, but by using today's x-ray telescopes, astronomers are learning more than they ever dreamed about space, time and our universe.

Books like the ones she devoured as a child make her want to inspire new generations to look to the stars. She has appeared in television programs and films as “the public face of NASA at Goddard,” and has written a popular book The Violent Universe: Joyrides Through the X-Ray Cosmos.


Mona Evans
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