Introducing Ryan Anderson

Dr. Ryan B. Anderson (@Ryan_B_Anderson) is a planetary scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, AZ, where he works on a mix of research and software development.  He got his PhD in Planetary Science from Cornell University. His thesis research played a role in the selection of Gale Crater as the landing site for the Curiosity Mars rover, and his work on analyzing Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) data with neural networks and other methods led to a role on the ChemCam science team. Ryan is also a member of the science team for the SuperCam instrument on the upcoming Mars 2020 rover and has a few smaller grants of his own, including two Mars geomorphology projects, and one to develop an open-source Python tool for analyzing LIBS (and other) spectra. He is also involved in a NASA-funded project to develop planetary science-themed after school activities for middle school students.

Ryan is passionate about science communication and education. He founded the Martian Chronicles blog, and enjoys giving public talks and generally sharing the excitement of science and planetary exploration.

Outside of work, Ryan enjoys spending time with his wife, baby, and two dogs. He also writes at his personal blog about non-science topics, and sometimes dabbles in fiction writing. He spends too much time on social media, and not enough on fun things like hiking and skiing.

Introducing Doug Burke

This week features Doug Burke.Doug is a Research Astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO),  which is co-located with the Harvard College Observatory (HCO), forming the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). Not content with this barrage of names, his position allows him to add that he is a member of the Science Data Systems (SDS) team of the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC). What this barrage of Three-Letter Acronyms (TLA) means is that most of his time is spent on helping Scientists analyze data taken by the Chandra X-ray satellite, one of NASA’s four Great Observatories.

When not helping others, Doug’s research interests are in using Galaxy Clusters to study the structure and evolution of the Universe; using computers to better help us with all this data we find ourselves with (in particular, in how Open Science, semantic technologies, machine learning, functional programming, and other buzz words can help); and exploring how Astronomers use Twitter, in particular at the American Astronomical Society meetings.

Doug tweets at @doug_burke, google plusses at, has code on both GitHub and BitBucket , occasionally shares data on FigShare, likes the Oxford
comma, and is currently wondering why he agreed to do this the same week as he’s madly preparing Halloween decorations for his kids.