Get to Know Gemini! – Chris Stark

Get to Know Gemini is a new series of blog posts aimed to highlight the different careers, backgrounds, and types of people contributing to Gemini Observatory and its science.

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Name:  Chris Stark

What is your current position and at which telescope?

Information Systems Engineer II & Gemini North ITS (Information Technology Services) Team Leader.

In four lines, explain what you do as part of the Gemini Observatory team?

My role with the observatory is two-part. On the technical side, I administer various aspects of our telescope production environment, including workstations, servers, data storage, and networking. My expertise is the Linux operating system. On the management side, I serve as the team leader for the Gemini North portion of our ITS team, helping to ensure that our observatory gets the IT support they need and that our team is working to meet our IT goals.

How long have you worked for Gemini?

Since late 2009

What drew you to this job?

I grew up with friends of our family that worked in astronomy, and during my time at UH as both a student and as an IT professional, I made a number of friends who are astronomers. I’ve also always had a bit of a guilty pleasure in watching astronomy-related television documentaries. One day while I was living on O‘ahu, my wife saw an ad in the paper for a Linux administrator, so I figured, why not give it a shot?

What is the best part of your job?

Easy question! I get to work with amazing people!

Where are you originally from/where did you grow up?

I was born on the West Coast of the US, but I grew up in North Kohala.

What skill do you think is most important to know for your job?

In IT one’s technical skills are an important foundation, but what is most important is the understanding that IT is all about serving *people* and ultimately helping one’s organization reach its goals with the right technology tools.

Why is astronomy important?

There are myriad reasons why astronomy is important, but ultimately what attracts me to this field is the spirit of exploration, the quest for discovery, and the desire to find our place in the universe.

What is your favorite movie?


What is the latest book you have read?

“Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir” by Joe Satriani.

What three albums would you bring with you to a desert island?

1. Pink Floyd “The Dark Side Of The Moon”
2. Joe Satriani “Shockwave Supernova”
3. Jimi Hendrix “Electric Ladyland”

What is one hobby of yours?

I write and record instrumental guitar rock music.

Favorite beverage?

It’s really hard to beat an ice cold beer!

Check back next month to learn more about the staff that help Gemini to explore the Universe and share its wonders!

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