Brendan Mullan, an astronomy scholar, will take the helm of the Buhl Planetarium, the Carnegie Science Center announced today.
Mr. Mullan received his doctorate from Penn State University, where he has helped design curriculum and outreach programming for astronomy courses.
He is the 2012 U.S. winner of FameLab, a competition where scientists must communicate intricate topics in layman's terms, and in three minutes' time. His winning speech pondered the question, "Why are there no aliens on Earth?"
In 2013, he was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, which gave him the opportunity to travel to schools around the country, lecturing on "inquiry-based thinking and advising teachers about science communication," according to a release from the Carnegie Science Center.
As director, Mr. Mullan will run day-to-day operations at the planetarium and observatory, as well as develop educational opportunities for the local attraction, located on the North Shore.
“I want to inspire the next generation of scientific thinkers,” Mr. Mullan said in the release. “I hope to engage students with that spark of excitement inherent to the planetarium experience — not just encouraging those who want to be astronomers, but everyone who will use science thinking to build the foundations of the 21st Century.”
Mr. Mullan is a native of Buffalo, N.Y. and received his master's degree in astronomy from Penn State.