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Richard Quinn
Richard Quinn

Research Scientist
SETI Institute
NASA Ames Research Center

Who I Am and What I Do
I’m a Research Scientist with the SETI Institute and operate a lab at NASA Ames Research Center. My activities focus on experimental modeling of chemical processes occurring on Mars and on the development of instruments and sensors for characterization of these processes.

Areas of expertise
Planetary science/exploration is a multidisciplinary field. Aside from a strong background in science, engineering knowledge is extremely useful at NASA

How I first became interested in this profession
I became interested in graduate school, thanks to my thesis advisor.

What helped prepare me for this job
School plus a lot of on-the-job experience.

Role Models
I’ve always admired Olympic Athletes.

My education and training
I first received a B.S. in chemistry followed by a high school teaching credential. After two years working in the education division and the National Science Foundation, I enrolled in M.S. program at San Francisco State University. Upon graduating with a degree in chemistry, I started working at NASA Ames (thanks to my graduate advisor’s contacts and recommendation) as a scientist with the SETI Institute. I received my PhD in chemistry from Leiden University while working at SETI/NASA Ames.

What I like about my job
The work is fascinating.

What I don't like about my job
The endless pursuit of funding.

My advice to anyone interested in this occupation
Find a nice, well contected graduate advisor or mentor.


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Last Updated:June, 2006
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