Celebrating Career Excellence with Named Asteroids

Category: Cover Story

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The Asteroid Belt

On May 20, 2024, the names of three PSI administrative staff were forever commemorated among the asteroids. According to the Working Group of Small Body Nomenclature, volume 4, #7, our Sun is now orbited by (14332) Brucebarnett, (14333) Alanfischer, and (14334) Lindarueger. The citations for each of these newly named objects reflects the excellence these three individuals brought to their careers at PSI.

The citations for these objects read as follows:

  • (14332) Brucebarnett 
    Bruce Barnett (b. 1956) is an American Certified Public Accountant who was the first Chief Financial Officer of the Planetary Science Institute. He provided infrastructure that allowed decades of growth at PSI, and generously provided administrative support and advice to other astronomical organizations when they were in need. 
  • (14333) Alanfischer
    Alan Fischer (b. 1957) is an American journalist and the first Public Information Officer of the Planetary Science Institute. He has written about research results of more than 100 scientists, communicating the excitement of their work to the public and advancing science literacy. He is a strong advocate for the engagement of scientists with the public.
  • (14334) Lindarueger 
    Linda Rueger (b. 1955) is the first Human Resources Director of the Planetary Science Institute. Her patience, accessibility and empathy for all staff, her tireless support for scientists, and her rigor in maintaining state and federal regulatory compliance have contributed much to making PSI a caring, stable workplace.

New names are released each month by the International Astronomical Union’s Working Group on Small Body Nomenclature. Learn more from the Minor Planet Center website. All three of these objects were discovered by Bobby Bus while working at Siding Spring Observatory in 1981.