Profile: Shu-Peng "Ben" Ho
Every other month, Staff Notes Monthly spotlights
a stochastically chosen staff member. This month we profile
Shu-Peng “Ben” Ho, a project scientist in the
Atmospheric Chemistry Division.
important question: Like
many scientists, Ben is drawn to the field because of his
inquisitive nature. “I’m that kind of person
who always wants to know why, and because of that I try to
find answers to questions about the physical world,” he
A specialist in radiation remote sensing, Ben studies data
from MOPITT (Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere).
MOPITT, an instrument flying on NASA’s Terra satellite,
measures the global distributions of carbon monoxide and
methane in the troposphere in order to enhance our knowledge
of the lower atmosphere and how it interacts with surface,
ocean, and biomass systems.
“What I like best about my job is that I can satisfy
my curiosity little by little by working on the data and
solving problems,” Ben says. “And my colleagues
share the same curiosity, so we feel like a team.”
The biggest challenge of his job, Ben says, is understanding
the physics behind the data. “You need to know why
the data look the way they do and how that will affect the
environment,” he explains.
Taiwan to the United States: Ben grew up in Taipei. After
completing his undergraduate degree in computer science at
Feng Chia University, he wasn’t completely satisfied
with the field and decided to study atmospheric science. “I
wanted to know why things happen, and atmospheric science
combined my computer background with science,” he says.
Ben headed across the globe to find answers, stopping in
New Jersey for a master’s degree in meteorology at
Rutgers and then moving to the University of Wisconsin—Madison
for more graduate studies. “A lot of professors at
Madison opened my eyes to the field, and I had the opportunity
to work with many really intelligent people,” he recalls.
Packers fans on Broncos soil: Ben left Madison with a doctorate
in atmospheric science and, though he’s a little reluctant
to admit it here in Colorado, an intense passion for the
Green Bay Packers. “We’re Packers fans, especially
my wife. Sometimes our mood is affected by this,” he
jokes. He confesses that their dream is for the Packers to
beat the Broncos in Denver.
Family time: After completing his doctorate, Ben worked
as a research scientist for NASA in Virginia before joining
ACD in 2001. He and his wife settled in Longmont with their
three children, ages 5, 7, and 9. The family likes to spend
time hiking and biking, and in Denver at sports events. Ben
says he’s trying to steer the kids toward science despite
the fact they say they plan to be basketball players when
they grow up.
Ben and his wife speak Chinese to each other and normally
cook Chinese food. The family goes back to Taiwan every few
years, and his mother visits them in Colorado. “I miss
the family get-togethers,” he says. He also misses
watching the Taiwanese people pursue idealistic dreams. “People
have an impact there by doing little things to help others,” he
Also in this issue...
eye on Washington
on the tsunami
to survey scientists, engineers
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