#SoCaltech: Anna Ho


"When I was an undergrad I took a bunch of literature classes and I really enjoyed them. When I came to study astrophysics at Caltech, I was worried about losing that part of my life. One of my undergrad professors, who I’d taken a medieval literature class with, put me in touch with a professor here, Jennifer Jahner, who's a medievalist. For a while, we had a small reading club together. We read a 14th-century Middle English poem called ‘Pearl,’ then started reading The Book of Margery Kempe, which is an autobiography by a woman in the 15th century—dictated, since she was illiterate. I love the feeling of connecting with a person from centuries ago and learning about the quirks of medieval life. It makes me realize that while human nature hasn't changed much, the circumstances of our lives and our understanding of nature certainly have. It's also fun to learn some Middle English, which is a beautiful language. I don't know if there are many schools where I could do something like this. Jenn has been very generous with her time, and I'm grateful to her."

Anna Ho, who was born in Singapore and attended high school in London, is an astrophysics graduate student in the lab of astronomy and planetary science professor Shri Kulkarni. She works on the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) project at Palomar Observatory; ZTF scans the sky to find young exploding stars and other objects that move or otherwise change in the night.

#SoCaltech is an occasional series celebrating the diverse individuals who give Caltech its spirit of excellence, ambition, and ingenuity. Know someone we should profile? Send nominations to magazine@caltech.edu.