Dr. Donald McCarthy '66

Researcher, Astronomer and Lecturer
Friday, October 5, 2018
Blake Campus (Hopkins), Bovey Chapel

Dr. Donald McCarthy '66 is a distinguished researcher, astronomer and lecturer at The University of Arizona's Steward Observatory, where he has pioneered techniques for achieving high angular resolution at infrared wavelengths from both ground- and space-based telescopes, even detecting atmospheric waves on Pluto.

His passion for astronomy began with the launch of the U.S. space program when McCarthy was in third grade. He went on to attend Princeton, where he received his bachelor's degree in physics. His own challenging educational experience inspires him to teach others, particularly first-year, non-science major students who may have limited experience with math and the sciences. In 1989, McCarthy began leading astronomy camps that continue today and have attracted students, educators, schools and interested adults from around the world. A multifaceted teacher, McCarthy helps others see and influence the future.

During his Breakfast at Blake presentation, "Think Different: My Journey in Space Time," McCarthy discussed how his life has orbited around exploration. Growing up at the dawn of the Space Age, he was inspired by the first manned missions and the first Earth views from space. The last half century has revealed surprising perspectives of our place in the universe, enabling astronomers to explore our origins. McCarthy reflected upon his journey and share what it means to encourage each other to dream, to tinker, to be resourceful and even to fail.