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Rand Baldwin
AEgis Technologies | Defense & Space
LOCATION: Madison, Alabama

As a child, I was enthralled with astronomy and aviation, which became enduring passions. In elementary school and throughout high school, I indulged these passions as an avid amateur astronomer and model airplane enthusiast.

I earned an undergraduate degree in physics, then pursued graduate study in astronomy at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA. Although I had intended to become a professional astronomer, I became discouraged by the dwindling market for astronomers that followed the end of the Apollo program in the early '70s. Since the late 1970s, I have worked in the aerospace industry, but my interest in physics, astronomy, computational science, and many other areas of science remains, and I enjoy trying to keep up with many fields at a "Scientific American" level. I've also been an active sailplane pilot and flight instructor since earning my initial glider rating in 1972. I own a high performance LS8a sailplane, in which I've competed in local, regional and national U.S. competitions. I've also set a U.S. national record and a host of state records.

I began using Mathematica in 1988 on my Macintosh Plus, and with the help of several colleagues, we persuaded our employer to purchase a Mathematica license. I was particularly excited about performing symbolic computation on my Mac, a capability that was (almost) unique to Mathematica at that time. Twenty-something (?) Macs and a few decades later, I'm still using Mathematica--now a subset of the Wolfram Language.