Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Tomas Dahlen. I'm an Associate Scientist at Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD, where I'm been for about six years since moving from my native Stockholm, Sweden.
I'm a co-investigator in the CANDELS team. I'm particularly interested in the supernova aspect of the survey, deriving rates of both Type Ia supernovae and core collapse supernovae and figuring out what they can tell us about for example the history of star formation and metal enrichment. I'm also involved in deriving photometric redshifts to the galaxies in the different fields.
What made you want to become an astronomer? At what age did you know you were interested in astronomy?
What obstacles have you encountered on your path to becoming an astronomer and how did you overcome them?
I think that the uncertainty of the job situation after getting a PhD is an obstacle that many have to struggle with. You spend many years on studies and then Post-docs not really knowing if and when you will be able to get a more permanent position down the road. This can be hard, but so far I've been lucky to be able to find work at places I really like.
Who has been your biggest scientific role model and why?
No one really specific I guess. But after taking that early course in relativity, I've been fascinated and intrigued about the thought processes that must have been going around in Einstein's head.
What is it like to be an astronomer? What is your favorite aspect?
What motivates you in your research?
What is your favorite astronomical facility? (This could include telescopes or super computers, for example)
Where do you see yourself in the future? What are your career aspirations?
I hope to continue working within the field, including inspiring collaborations such as CANDELS.
If you could have any astronomy related wish, what would it be?
To find something no one had expected in the next CANDELS supernova search.
What is your favorite, most mind-boggling astronomy fact?
Just the mere size of space and time is amazing. The light packet from a distant exploding supernova has been traveling for many billions of years when we detect it with Hubble, a few weeks later it is gone.
Is there anything else you would like for the public to know about you or astronomy in general?
When I am not working on astronomy, I take my telescope outside; but not for star gazing at night, but rather birding any time of the day. I've been a devoted birder my whole life and combining this with the possibilities to travel that the profession as an astronomer gives, provides great opportunities to visit and bird different parts of the world.