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Professor Frank Summers, Ph.D.

Professor Frank Summers
  • Space Telescope Science Institute
  • University of California, Berkeley
My first goal of the course is to teach you that scientific knowledge is never static.
Frank Summers, an astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, earned his undergraduate degree summa cum laude in physics from Virginia Tech and his M.S. and Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California at Berkeley. His work at STScI presents the findings of the Hubble Space Telescope and developments in general astronomy to the public through news media, websites, educational programs, and exhibits at museums and planetariums. One of his specialties is the combination of research data and supercomputer simulations with animation and rendering techniques. Professor Summers directed, cowrote, and created the 3-D visualizations for the IMAX short film Hubble: Galaxies Across Space and Time, which won the Large Format Cinema Association's Best Short Film Award in 2004. He was the lead astronomer in developing the exhibits for the opening of the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History. It was during this rebirth of the museum's Hayden Planetarium that he and his fellow curators developed and presented the modern view of the solar system espoused in this course. Their intellectual boldness emerged with the official astronomy reclassification of Pluto almost a decade later.

"Dr. Summers is a great lecturer who covers a wide range of topics, including a fair amount of history, with warmth and humor."