Curiosity Expert: Dr. Lisa Prato
Astronomer, Lowell Observatory
When asked what she's curious about, it's easier for Dr. Lisa Prato to list what she is NOT curious about. Dr. Prato grew up near Boston with four big brothers, two big sisters, and lots of cats. She completed her undergraduate degrees (Astronomy (BS) and English (BA) with a Russian minor) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Prato taught astronomy at the Universidad Industrial de Santander in Bucaramanga, Colombia, for about three years. During that time, she started cycling in the Andes. While attending graduate school at Stony Brook University, she briefly road raced with the East End Cycling Team. She switched coasts to work at two postdoctoral positions in astronomy at UCLA, and has yet to leave the West, having joined Lowell Observatory as an astronomer in 2004.
Dr. Prato's scientific interests include star formation, planet formation, binary stars, planet formation in binary star systems, and young star evolution. Other than cycling, her personal interests include reading, hiking, running, 3-day eventing, eating, gardening, and writing. Her desire to find answers to some of astronomy's fundamental questions fuel her drive to participate in numerous projects in her areas of interest. She wishes she had time to study our own solar system more because, like many things, it piques her curiosity greatly. Dr. Prato is fortunate to collaborate with and mentor numerous talented undergraduate and graduate students (former students include Christopher Crockett, Gregory N. Mace, Viviana Rosero, Alberto Rodríguez Ardila, and Emily L. Rice).