Standing on the bridge between art and science as NASA JPL’s Visualization Scientist for the Spitzer Space Telescope, Dr. Robert Hurt’s goal and expertise lies in sharing the wonders of the Universe with the public. Robert’s job is to take observational datasets and use them to create images that everyone will understand and enjoy. These images are intended to fuel the imagination of the viewer, sparking a curiosity that will encourage them to read and learn further.
With the rate at which new things are being discovered about our own world and strange new worlds alike, from Kepler 22b to the upcoming exploration of Europa to the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, there’s an increasing need for relatable, down to earth astronomers who can illustrate and explain it all in a manner that is simple and aesthetically pleasing. This is Dr. Robert Hurt.
Inspired by Science Fiction (listing Spock amongst his role models and quoting Batty from Blade Runner on his page on the Spitzer/Cal-tech site), Robert began studying physics and astronomy at a young age. While professionally satisfying his left-brain, his fascination with Special Effects urged him to find some balance by taking up hobbies in art, graphics and photography. His interests would often overlap, as he’d create elaborate astronomical depictions. It wasn’t until relatively recently that work and play officially merged for him, when the Science Visualization position at NASA JPL was created and he was the perfect fit.
Dr. Robert Hurt has been featured on the History Channel’s “The Universe”, and currently runs his own podcast called Hidden Universe, which has over 200,000 subscribers and has been the most popular of all vodcasts on iTunes on multiple occasions.