Born and raised in Germany, he completed his undergraduate degree at the Technical University of Munich. After he finished his Ph.D., Modest spent two years at NASA’S Johnson Space Center in Texas as a postdoctoral research associate. He returned to the Bay Area for a year after landing a lecturer position at San Francisco State University. After that, Modest held teaching positions at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York and the University of Southern California before he was offered a position at Penn State.
Since joining UC Merced, Modest has been busy teaching, establishing his lab and continuing his research in thermal radiation. He’s also collaborating on projects at Edwards Air Force Base in Lancaster and at CFD Research Corporation, a company that creates engineering simulations and innovative designs for aerospace, defense, biomedical and life sciences, and energy and materials technologies.