About the Author

Tyler Nordgren and his camera

Dr. Tyler Nordgren is an astronomer and associate professor of physics at the University of Redlands in California. He was born in Portland, Ore., and grew up in the town of Eagle River, Ala., where as a youth he was captured by the spirit of the wilderness and the skies above.

A consummate scientist, Dr. Nordgren sees an interrelationship between the natural world, the universe and the arts. His book, "Stars Above, Earth Below: a Guide to Astronomy in the National Parks," is the culmination of that lifelong philosophy. It’s a mix of astronomy, physics, folklore and history – a creative blend of text and photography that melds into a holistic appreciation of Earth, mankind, and space.

"At night, I see our true place in the universe without the sun to light up the sky and drown out all sense of the larger cosmos beyond our atmosphere," Nordgren said. "I see our landscape illuminated by the light of a million suns, and I see the universe from where we have come and where we are going."

In 2007, Nordgren took a sabbatical and spent 12 months exploring and photographing the night skies within America’s national parks. The journey was a launching point for his book.

"I want people to have a better appreciation of science and its role in the humanities. Scientists aren’t just white-haired old men on mountain tops. Lewis and Clark were scientists as they explored America over 200 years ago. They caught, collected, and catalogued new species of plants and animals everywhere they went, and spent their nights observing the stars, planets and moon to figure out where they’d been." Nordgren said.

Dr. Nordgren earned his B.A. in physics from Reed College, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in astronomy from Cornell University. He has written and spoken extensively on pulsars, the interstellar medium, star formation in galaxies, the distribution of dark matter in galaxies, and the atmospheres and pulsation of red giant stars. As an astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory and Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Ariz., he became interested in archaeoastronomy, science education and light pollution, an issue that inspired him to write "Stars Above, Earth Below." In 2005, Dr. Nordgren began working with the National Park Service Night Sky Team, who developed a method of quantifying the amount of light pollution in the skies above the national parks, and works diligently with the park service to preserve the last of our dark skies.

As a professor at the University of Redlands, Dr. Nordgren continues to involve himself in research and is widely published. His work takes him around the globe, where he frequently travels with students in order to inspire them about the world around them and the greater universe above.


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