Like so many things in life, it all started with a girl.
In fifth grade, the girl who sat next to Keith Hawkins every day in class would check out encyclopedias and look up subjects in astronomy, admiring pictures of swirling galaxies and colorful nebulae. Hawkins would join her, and the two of them would sit together and gaze at the heavens, one page at a time.
Then, the following year, she moved away.
Here's an article written for the campus website, Caltech Today, about one of my summer undergraduate researchers, Keith Hawkins. A snippet: