Full Spectrum: Isabel Hawkins


When I was 10 years old, an unsuspecting encyclopedia salesman came to our home in Cordoba, Argentina, to sell us a special book on the solar system. I looked at the marvelous images of Jupiter and the other planets, and I was hooked! Ever since then, I knew I wanted to be an astronomer. I was also interested in volleyball, and played on our neighborhood team through high school. Trendy clothes were so important when I was growing up, and I tried my best to wear them! Math and Science were something you did just like Spanish and Geography, so I chugged along studying for my various subjects, and then I decided to try out for an exchange program that would give me a chance to live in the United States for a year. I came to the US when I was 16 years old, and did my last year of high school here, in Los Altos, California. After a year back home, I returned to the States and got married to my high school sweetheart. Nine years later, with a B.S. in Physics, and a Masters and Ph.D. in astronomy, I began to get involved in NASA projects studying various parts of the Universe. I specialized first in the interstellar medium, the "stuff between the stars," but since 1994 I have been working on sharing NASA space science discoveries with students, teachers, and the public. The NASA Sun-Earth Connection (how our dynamic Sun affects the Earth and other planets) has been my focus since 1997. I love my job, and the people I work with. I especially love interacting with young people—particularly girls interested in science. My interests also include cooking, kickboxing, and golf. I putt better than I drive, considering I learned how to drive cars in Argentina!


What kind of work so you do as an astronomer?

Why did you chose astronomy for a career?

Observing Total Solar Eclipses

What advice do you have for young women who want to be astronomers?

How did you balance your family life with your career?

What aspect of your work is the most satisfying?

Multiverse skin is based on Greytness by Adammer