Mike Malin
Mars Global Surveyor and Surveyor 98 Cameras

Things I Read When I was a Kid

As a kid, I read a lot of science fiction and science books. I particularly like science fiction that was well-based in science (I still don't care much for fantasy books). My favorite authors were Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Issac Asimov (writing both as Asimov and Paul French), and Arthur C. Clarke. I believe these books helped develop my imagination while keeping me from total flights of fantasy.

People Who Influenced Me

I have been lucky to have a large number of people influence me. The most important person was my mother, who encouraged me to always do the best I could, and who also continually challenged me to do better. My father died when I was seven, so my mother really was the guiding light in my life.

I attended an elementary school in North Hollywood, California (a suburb of Los Angeles) that specialized in "special education" classes for kids with physical or other handicaps, but which also provided regular classes for their brothers and sisters. I had two teachers there (Mrs. Judith Newman in the second grade and Mrs. Mildred Christiansen in the sixth grade) who greatly encouraged me, and provided the extra challenge to work harder. In junior high, my ninth grade science teacher (Mr. Robert Hayes) let me try out experiments after school; this was my first experience with research. As a physics undergraduate at Berkeley, two faculty (Buford Price and John Reynolds) and three of their post-doctoral fellows for whom I worked (Calvin Alexander, Dennis O'Sullivan and Wolf Kaiser) showed me how to do REAL research, and with another professor (Kinsey Anderson) who provided independent research funds for a lunar photogeology project, changed the entire direction of my professional life (from physics and astronomy to planetary science).

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