Where science and tech meet creativity.

Dr. Pamela L. Gay

I am an astronomer, technologist, and creative focused on using new media to engage people in learning and doing science. Join me as we map our Solar System in unprecedented detail through our citizen science projects at CosmoQuest, and learn astronomy through media productions like Astronomy Cast and Escape Velocity Space News.

I am actively seeking speaking engagements and opportunities to collaborate on research related to citizen science, training machine learning algorithms, and science engagement using technology.


2002, Ph.D. Astronomy, University of Texas, Austin, Texas
Dissertation Title: Using Radio Sources to Find Galaxy Clusters. Advisors: John Kormendy & Gary Hill

1998, M.A. Astronomy, University of Texas, Austin, Texas
Thesis Title: Variable Stars in the Ursa Minor Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy. Advisor: Edward Robinson

1996, B.S. Astrophysics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
Senior Thesis Title: Period Changes of RR Lyrae Stars in Globular Clusters. Advisor: Horace Smith


2019 – present, Senior Education and Communication Specialist 
Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona

2008 – 2018, Executive Director
Astrophere New Media, Edwardsville, Illinois

2017 – 2018, Director of Technology
Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Fransisco, California

2006 – 2016, Assistant Research Professor
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, Illinois

2003 – 2006, Instructional Laboratory Associate
Harvard University Science Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Awards & Fellowships

2023, Finalist, Lifetime Achievement Award, Sonic Bloom Awards

2023, Finalist, People’s Choice Award, Sonic Bloom Awards for Astronomy Cast

2023, Bronze, Science & Education, Signal Awards for Daily Space

2023, People’s Choice Award, Science & Education, Signal Awards for Daily Space

2019, Isaac Asimov Science Award, American Humanist Association

2018 Best Infotainment Podcast, Parsec Awards for Astronomy Cast

2018 Inductee, Podcasters Hall of Fame, Academy of Podcasters

2018 Winner, Productions – Podcast Communicator Award, Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts

2016 Nominee, Best Online Talk Show – Science & Technology, Online Radio Awards for Astronomy Cast

2015 Winner, Productions – Podcast Communicator Award, Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts for 365 Days of Astronomy

2012 Outstanding Science Educator of the Year, St. Louis Academy of Sciences

2012 Researcher of the of Year, SIUE Chapter of Sigma Xi

2009 Best Infotainment Podcast, Parsec Awards for 365 Days of Astronomy

Professional Service & Leadership

American Association of Variable Star Observers

  • 20052011 council member

American Astronomical Society

  • 2023–present member, nominating committee
  • 2015–present member, Eclipse Task Force
  • 20092011 member, Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award Committee
  • 2012 chair, Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award Committee
  • 20092011 columnist, SPARK education newsletter

American Geophysical Union

  • 20152017 vicechair, Planetary Science Education Working Group

Astronomical Society of the Pacific

  • 20152016 member, Publications Committee
  • 20122016 secretary & board member, Board of Directors
  • 20102011 member, Society Organizing Committee, EPO Meeting

International Astronomical Union

  • 20102021 Communicating Astronomy to the Public Meeting Working Group
  • 20152018 steering committee member, Commission C
  • 20142015 member, Cosmic Light Cornerstone Project, International Year of Light
  • 20122015 coChair, Division 55 working group
  • 20082010 coChair, New Media Task Force, International Year of Astronomy



Peer-reviewed Science Papers

Walsh, K. J., Bierhaus, E. B., Lauretta, D. S., Nolan, M. C., Ballouz, R. L., Bennett, C. A., (Gay is 23 of 40) … & Wolner, C. W. (2022). Assessing the sampleability of Bennu’s surface for the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission. Space Science Reviews218(4), 20. 10.1007/s11214-022-00887-2

Lauretta, D. S., Adam, C. D., Allen, A. J., Ballouz, R. L., Barnouin, O. S., Becker, K. J., (Gay is 17 of 24) … & Yumoto, K. (2022). Spacecraft sample collection and subsurface excavation of asteroid (101955) Bennu. Science377(6603), 285-291. 10.1126/science.abm1018

Richardson, M., Malagón, A. A. P., Lebofsky, L. A., Grier, J., Gay, P., Robbins, S. J., & The CosmoQuest Team . 2022. “The CosmoQuest Moon Mappers Community Science Project: The Effect of Incidence Angle on the Lunar Surface Crater Distribution.” The Open Journal of Astrophysics 5 (January). 10.21105/astro.2110.13404.

Koroshetz, W. J., Behrman, S., Brame, C. J., Branchaw, J. L., Brown, E. N., Clark, E. A., (Gay is 9 of 27) … & Silberberg, S. D. (2020). Framework for advancing rigorous research. Elife9, e55915. 10.7554/eLife.55915

Parker, A. H., Buie, M. W., Osip, D. J., Gwyn, S. D., Holman, M. J., Borncamp, D. M., (Gay is 13 of 22) … & Wasserman, L. H. (2013). 2011 HM102: Discovery of a high-inclination L5 Neptune Trojan in the search for a post-Pluto new horizons target. The Astronomical Journal145(4), 96. 10.1088/0004-6256/145/4/96

Tholen, D. J., et al. [Gay is author 19 of 76]. “Minor Planet Observations [568 Mauna Kea].” Minor Planet Circulars 78794 (2012).

Keel, W. C., A. M. Manning, B. W. Holwerda, M. Mezzoprete, C. J. Lintott, K. Schawinski, P. Gay, and K. L. Masters. “Galaxy Zoo: A catalog of overlapping galaxy pairs (Keel+, 2013).” VizieR Online Data Catalog 612 (2013): 50002.

Keel, W.C., A.M. Manning, B.W. Holwerda, M. Mezzoprete, C.J. Lintott, K. Schawinski, P. Gay, and K.L. Masters. “Galaxy Zoo: a catalog of overlapping Galaxy Pairs for dust studies.” Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 125, no. 923 (2013): 2-16. DOI. 10.1086/669233

Fuse, T., S. Miyazaki, J. R. Spencer, D. J. Tholen, F. Toshida, M. W. Buie, D. M. Borncamp, P.L. Gay, et al. [545 total authors] “2012 LT7= 2009 MH1.” Minor Planet Electronic Circulars1 (2012): 109.

Schawinski, K., Evans, D. A., Virani, S., Urry, C. M., Keel, W. C., Natarajan, P., (Gay is 15 of 16) … & Fortson, L. (2010). The sudden death of the nearest quasar. The Astrophysical Journal Letters724(1), L30. 10.1088/2041-8205/724/1/L30

Smith, H.A., J.A. Church, J. Fournier, J. Lisle, P. Gay, K. Kolenberg, B.W. Carney, I. Dick, R.C. Peterson, and B. Hakes. “The Blazhko effect of RR Lyrae in 1996.” Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 115, no. 803 (2003): 43-48. DOI. 10.1086/345458

Cotter, G., H.J. Buttery, S. Rawlings, S. Croft, G.J. Hill, P. Gay, R. Das, N. Drory, K. Grainge, W.F. Grainger, M.E. Jones, G.G. Pooley, and R. Saunders. “Detection of a cosmic microwave background decrement towards a cluster of mJy radio sources.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 331 (2002): 1-6. DOI. 10.1046/j.1365-8711.2002.04996.x

Gay, P.L., and D.L. Lambert. “The isotopic abundances of magnesium in stars.” The Astrophysical Journal 533, no. 1 (2000): 260. DOI. 10.1086/308653

Smith, H.A., M. Barnett, N. A. Silbermann, and P. Gay. “The Blazhko Effect of AR Herculis.” The Astronomical Journal 118, no. 1 (1999): 572. DOI. 10.1086/300912

(Gay) Rathbun, P., and H.A. Smith. “Period Changes of RR Lyrae Stars in Seven Globular Clusters.” Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (1997): 1128-1134. DOI. 10.1086/133985

Abbett, W.P., M. Beaver, B. Davids, D. Georgobiani, P. (Gay) Rathbun, and R.F. Stein. “Solar Convection: Comparison of Numerical Simulations and Mixing-Length Theory.” The Astrophysical Journal 480, no. 1 (1997): 395.

Lee, K., P. Gay, and H.A. Smith. “The Blazhko Effect of the RR Lyrae Star V421 Herculis.” Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (1996): 659-663.

Purdue, P., N. A. Silbermann, P. Gay, and Horace A. Smith. “Double-Mode RR Lyrae Stars in the Globular Cluster M15.” The Astronomical Journal 110 (1995): 1712.

Peer-reviewed Education Papers

Gugliucci, N., Bracey, G., Buxner, S., Bakerman, M., Gay, P. L., Glushko, A., … & Smith, J. B. (2021). Motivations and Patterns of Engagement of CosmoQuest Participants. Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal, (29). capjournal.org/issues/29/29_06.pdf

Gay, P. L. (2020). Using New Media and Social Media for Online Learning. In Astronomy Education, Volume 2: Best practices for online learning environments (pp. 6-1). Bristol, UK: IOP Publishing.

Reiheld, A. and Gay, P.L., 2019. Coercion, consent, and participation in citizen science. arXiv preprint arXiv:1907.13061.

Gay, P. “Taking Science On-air with Google+.” Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal 14 (2014): 10.

Raddick, M.J., G. Bracey, P.L. Gay, C.J. Lintott, C. Cardamone, P. Murray, K. Schawinski, A.S. Szalay, and J. Vandenberg. “Galaxy Zoo: Motivations of Citizen Scientists.” Astronomy Education Review 12, no. 1 (2013).

Gay, P., P. Plait, J. Raddick, F. Cain, and E. Lakdawalla. “Live casting: Bringing astronomy to the masses in real time.” CAP Journal 6 (2009): 26-29.

Raddick, M.J., G. Bracey, P.L. Gay, C.J. Lintott, P. Murray, K. Schawinski, A.S. Szalay, and J. Vandenberg. “Galaxy zoo: Exploring the motivations of citizen science volunteers.” Astronomy Education Review 9, no. 1 (2010): 010103.

Gay, P. L. “Building a Wall-Free Digital Tomorrow.” Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal 3 (2008): 11.

Gay, P.L., R. Bemrose-Fetter, G. Bracey, and F. Cain. “Astronomy Cast: Evaluation of a podcast audience’s content needs and listening habits.” Communicating Astronomy with the Public 1, no. 1 (2007): 24-29.

Price, A., P. Gay, T. Searle, and G. Brissenden. “A History and Informal Assessment of the” Slacker Astronomy” Podcast.” Astronomy Education Review 5, no. 1 (2006): 53-69. DOI. 10.3847/AER2006004

Gay, P.L., A. Price, and T. Searle. “Astronomy podcasting: A low-cost tool for affecting attitudes in diverse audiences.” Astronomy Education Review 5, no. 1 (2006): 36-52.