Chryssa Kouveliotou, Ph.D.
Background: I am a senior scientist in high-energy astrophysics at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. I mostly work with X- and gamma-ray data from neutron stars and black holes, such as magnetars and gamma-ray bursts, but I like all kinds of high-energy transients and I prefer combining data from many wavelengths.
Question 1: Tell us why you chose your particular field of study. Why did it grab your interest and fuel your curiosity?
Answer: I love solving mysteries and putting together puzzles: What is the nature of stars, or the creation of our universe, or the past and future of our cosmos? These are questions that humans have been asking forever. Astrophysicists collect data from our past and interpret them to understand our present and our future. It always attracted my imagination as a child and I was pretty determined to follow that path from very early in my life.
Question 2: Share a story from your past that led to your choosing your field of work.
Answer: When I was in high school our physics teacher kept grinding into our minds that physics is not an exotic science but follows laws that rule every part of our everyday lives. She made a point to demonstrate that in most lectures with examples, and in that way she made physics approachable, fascinating and very attractive to me. From there to astrophysics was a very small jump.
Question 3: What's your favorite food? Got a sweet tooth? Caffeine junkie? Are you a chef?
Answer: I love fruit — I grew up in Greece and fruits were a major part of the family diet. I am definitely a caffeine junkie — I drink just about a pot of coffee every day. And I like cooking new dishes and sharing them with a lot of friends at home.
Question 4: Tell us about a hobby or passion outside of work.
Answer: I like reading books on history, languages and sociology.
Question 5: If you could have one day in another profession, what would you want to do?
Answer: Explore sunken cities in the Mediterranean.