Netflix’s “Unknown: Cosmic Time Machine” is unlike anything else as a documentary offering us a glimpse into the ambitious December 2021 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. This is due to the fact that it has not only lovely pictures but also unique interviews with prominent scientists and engineers to actually shed light on the realities of our vast cosmos. Astrophysicist Amber Straughn was one of those that appeared in this story in order to further the plot; if you’re just interested in learning more about her, we have the information you need.
Who is Amber Straughn?
Amber’s fascination with space began when she was a small child growing up on her family’s watermelon, pig, and cattle farm, and it grew as the years went by. She stated openly in the original production, “I’d determined… I want to be an astronomer from the time I was six or seven. I was raised in the middle of nowhere on a little farm in rural Arkansas. There were no nearby city lights. In the evening, it was really dark. When she viewed photographs captured by the Hubble Space Telescope on television in the early 1990s, she was in the fourth or fifth grade and was even more intrigued by the sky.
So it should come as no surprise that Amber, who graduated from high school in 1998, immediately enrolled at the University of Arkansas to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Physics before going on to earn her Magna Cum Laude in 2002. The truth is that by this time, she had already collaborated with a group of classmates to create a successful study paper on NASA’s microgravity KC-135 2001 jet, which allowed her to get admitted to Arizona State University. She earned a 3-year NASA Harriett Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship for minorities in STEM after completing her Master’s degree there in 2004. A little more than three years later, in 2008, she received her Ph.D.
Amber began her work at the Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland as a NASA Postdoctoral Programme Fellow at that time, and by 2011 she had joined the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) project. Because she already had the necessary prior experience using the Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope, she really evolved into Deputy Project Scientist for JWST Science Communications. In other words, her ultimate position was driven by her unrelenting desire for understanding how stars and black holes develop in faraway galaxies, as well as how such processes change over time.
Where is Amber Straughn Now?
From what we can tell, it should come as no surprise that Amber is still a Research Astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, given her continued utter devotion to topics like galaxy formation, evolution, dark energy, black holes, as well as all their effects on our universe as a whole. It’s important to remember that from 2014 to 2015, she was primarily based at NASA’s headquarters in Washington, DC, where she completed a successful stint in the Office of the Chief Scientist before unexpectedly assuming the position of Chair for the Hubble Space Telescope 25th Anniversary Celebration Committee.
View this post on Instagram
Regarding Amber’s exact position now, aside from being an astronomer, it seems as though she is also a public person committed to disseminating her/NASA’s research with the globe through speaking engagements and social media. She is actually willing to appear anywhere — whether it be at schools, astronomy clubs, museums, research societies, or private parties in the nearby Maryland region or across the country — you just need to hire her through her website.
And now, a little about Dr. Amber’s personal life: she’s happily married, a proud dog mom, a Pear Jam superfan, a hobby pilot, a hiker, a yogini, and a homebrewer, so it’s obvious that currently enjoys her home life as much as she loves her job and her space.