Inspiration: Zip Zip Goes to Venus
Just after Sputnik launched, a second-grader in Ft. Fort Collins, Colorado befriended a Martian boy named Opedoxtromeldee (nick named Zip-Zip) and boarded his flying saucer. Gibor identified with Zip-Zip because he was different from the other kids. One starry night, Gibor joined Randy, Tom, Sparky, and Bonnie and fly with Zip-Zip to Venus, a cloud-covered swamp planet inhabited by giant reptiles and Venusians. Their great adventure together opened his eyes to the epic possibilities of space.
Five years after Gibor traveled to Venus, a real spacecraft would discover that the planet is actually hellishly hot and dry, totally unsuitable for dinosaurs or kiddos. Even with Venus off the table, Gibor knew that some lucky people were going to discover space travel one day. He was determined to be one of them.
After earning his BS in Physics from Stanford, and his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado – Boulder, Gibor came to Berkeley’s Astronomy department under a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship and never left.