It’s one thing to become an expert in a field. And quite another to invent your own fields. But that’s exactly what Los Angeles City College graduate Robert B. Leighton did.
If you’ve never heard of Leighton, you’re not alone. Astrophysics isn’t something you get famous for. Which is too bad, because Leighton did some amazing stuff.
In 1986, Leighton won the prestigious Rumford Prize for advancements in Infrared Astronomy, and then the James Craig Watson Medal in 1988, for his work on solar oscillations, infrared surveys, spun telescopes, and large millimeter-wave reflectors, which literally created whole new fields of study in astronomy.
The coolest thing is, it all started at Los Angeles City College. From there, Leighton, whose mom was a maid at a hotel, was accepted to CalTech, where he would later graduate and have a storied career as a professor and close personal friend of Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman.
While Leighton isn’t necessarily famous, his accomplishments within the field of astrophysics are. This is why we at Interact think he’s a great example of what it means to be a community college grad. He’s a real person whose community college degree helped him make a real difference.
Leighton shot for the stars. And he hit them. Now, it’s your turn.
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