Nothing in Richard J. Greenberg’s past hinted that his career might suddenly take a radical turn. A highly esteemed planetary scientist at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, he had been responsible for a number of pioneering ideas, including the theory that gravitational forces combined with the effects of colliding orbiting bodies could lead to a runaway. growth of very big planets. His current work revolved around developing the digital image processing system for Galileo, the space vehicle scheduled to be sent to Jupiter. In short, Greenberg was successful and well respected in his field.

So why, earlier this year, did Greenberg, 41, turn in his lab coat to become a professor of teachers in the university’s College of Education? For that matter, why did the university specifically seek a senior research scientist to fill the newly created position?

What prompted both. Greenberg and the university to take...

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