From Baseball Player to Astrophysicist: The Big Picture and the Quick Take

The Big Picture

Mark SubbaRao, Ph.D., Space Visualization Laboratory Director, Adler Planetarium

Sr. Research Associate, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago

Dr. SubbaRao had two potential career paths:  major league baseball or physics.  After being cut from the freshman team, Mark pursued astrophysics.


The Quick Take:

Best Advice:  Combine what you love into what you do.  “In my work I get to use all my skills: math, being creative and technical expertise.  When I was working on the Sloan Survey I took painting as a creative outlet.  Now my career is my hobby,” said SubbaRao.

Greatest Failure:  In the Sloan mapping project, SubbaRao and the team looked at more of the universe than had ever been looked at before and observed many unusual spectrum objects but did not stop to investigate them fully.  “I left major discoveries on the table,” added SubbaRao. “If I was better prepared and had more time, I could have made more discoveries.”

Greatest Success:  The Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the most astronomical astronomical survey ever.   Just mapping the universe, no big deal.

What Makes Mark Crazy:  When the ‘name a star’ people don’t give enough detail so that Mark can accurately help the families find the star that they just bought in memory of a loved one.

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