Doug Schoon, industry chemist and chief scientific adviser for CND. In his other life: astronomy enthusiast.
It’s not that he doesn’t get a thrill thinking about molecular structures and covalent bonds, but lately Doug Schoon’s attention has wandered … to the stars. Chief scientific adviser for CND, Schoon says his love of astronomy began when driving through the Arizona desert on his way back from a convention. “I checked into a small roadside hotel for what I thought would be an early evening. After tossing and turning for hours without much sleep, I stepped out to a small patio for fresh air and experienced something I can only describe as wondrous,” recalls Schoon. “Before me was an impossibly huge number of glistening, hot white stars while dazzling Venus floated above the horizon. I grabbed a small pair of binoculars out of my car and spent the rest of the night looking upward, transfixed.”
From then on, Schoon was hooked. “I spent money on an expensive telescope, better binoculars, and other astronomical trinkets,” he says. And he began sneaking out with his equipment. “I’d drive deep into the middle of a California desert on Friday night and sometimes not come back until late Sunday afternoon, eyes glazed, bleary headed, tired, and thirsty,” he says.
“Nowadays, I struggle to find the time to enjoy my passion for astronomy,” he says. To get through the starless nights, Schoon has found his own personal solution: “I replicated the night sky using glow-in-the-dark paint on the dark blue walls and ceiling of my bedroom loft.”
If you, too, long to explore the stars, Schoon invites you to check out one of his favorite websites, www.stardate.org.