Andy Puckett is Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia. He grew up in the St. Louis metro area of southern Illinois, then got his bachelor’s degree in Physics & Mathematics at Vanderbilt University. He moved to Chicago, met his awesome wife (for whom asteroid (178226) Rebeccalouise is named), and earned his PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics from the University of Chicago. They then ventured north to the University of Alaska Anchorage, where as a postdoc he developed curricula to bring authentic astronomical research projects into the undergraduate classroom. After a 3-year stint as both Assistant Professor and Director of UAA’s Planetarium & Visualization Theater, he then moved his young family again, 4,000+ miles to Georgia. They have 3 children born in 3 different states: Illinois, Alaska, and Georgia. Now they plan to stay put for a while.
Andy’s research interests lie primarily in the astrometric, photometric, and spectroscopic study of small solar system bodies for the purposes of discovery, orbital refinement, and physical characterization. His focus is on distant bodies (centaurs, transneptunians, and comets), but will study any main belt, near-earth, or trojan asteroid that comes his way. He is part of a team that has used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to discover 44 new objects in the solar system, including five dwarf planet candidates, two of the nine known Neptune trojans, and two of the five known transneptunians with orbits extending beyond 900 AU. On his blog and in the classroom, he uses orbit uncertainty visualizations to show students that science is a process that decreases uncertainty… with time and effort!
He tweets his sciencey thoughts @astropuckett.