Dr. Neil Gehrels

Dr. Neil Gehrels

  • Chief , Astroparticle Physics Laboratory
  • 301.286.6546 | 301.286.0677
  • NASA/GSFC
  • Mail Code: 661
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: NASA
  • Brief Bio

    Neil Gehrels is an experimental physicist working in time domain astronomy who is active in instrument development and data analysis, and dabbles in theory. His interests include gamma-ray bursts and supernovae. He is Principal Investigator for the Swift gamma-ray burst MIDEX mission. He did his PhD with Rochus Vogt and Ed Stone at Caltech on the discovery of accelerated oxygen and sulfur ions in the Jovian magnetosphere originating in the volcanoes of Io. Following a post-doc at Goddard Space Flight Center, he became a permanent employ as "astrophysicist" and then "Chief of the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory". Other responsibilities include Project Scientist for the Compton Observatory (1991-2000), Mission Scientist for INTEGRAL, a Deputy Project Scientist for Fermi, Project Scientist for WFIRST and member LIGO Science Collaboration. Committees, societies, etc. include past Chair of the AAS High Energy Astrophysics Division and the APS Division of Astrophysics, Fellow of the APS, Fellow of the AAAS, and member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His wife, Ellen Williams, is Director of ARPA-E at the Department of Energy and is on leave as a Distinguished Professor of physics at the University of Maryland. He has two children, Tom and Emily, born in 1987 and 1990. His other interests include music and moutaineering. He climbed the Nose Route on El Capitan in Yosemite in 6 day solo ascents in 2006 and 2015.

    Present Position

    Chief, Astroparticle Physics Laboratory, NASA/GSFC
    College Park Professor of Astronomy, U. Maryland
    Adjunct Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Penn State

    Research Areas

    Gamma-Ray Astronomy
    High Energy Astrophysics
    Instrument Development
    Infrared Astronomy

     

    Education

    1982  Ph.D., Physics, Caltech
    1976  B.S., (Honors) Physics, University of Arizona
    1976  B.M., Music, University of Arizona

    Positions/Employment

    1995 - 1995

    Visiting Professor of Astronomy

    University of Maryland, College Park, MD
    1981 - 1983

    NAS/NRC Research Associate

    GSFC, Greenbelt, MD
    1977 - 1981

    Graduate Research Assistant

    Caltech, Pasadena, CA
    1976 - 1977

    Graduate Fellow

    Caltech, Pasadena, CA
    1974 - 1974

    Summer Research Assistant

    Max Planck Institute, Gernmany
    1973 - 1976

    Undergraduate Research Assistant

    University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

    Awards

    2016, Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award
    2016, Honorary Fellowship, Royal Astronomical Society
    2012, Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
    2012, Alumnus of the Year, Honors College, University of Arizona
    2012, Harrie Massey Award, COSPAR
    2011, Rossi Prize, AAS, P. Michelson, W. Attwood & Fermi team
    2011, election to International Academy of Astronautics
    2010, election to National Academy of Sciences
    2009, Maria & Eric Muhlmann Award, Astron Soc Pacific, Swift Team
    2009, George W. Goddard Award, SPIE society
    2009, Henry Draper Medal, National Academy of Sciences
    2008, election to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    2007, Bruno Rossi Prize, AAS, N. Gehrels & Swift Team
    2006, Popular Science, Best of What's New Award, Swift Team
    2005, NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal
    2005, GSFC John C. Lindsay Award
    2000, Randolph Lovelace Award, American Astronautical Society
    1993, Fellow, American Physical Society
    1993, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal
    1992, Discover Magazine Award for Technological Innovation
    1976, Caltech Graduate Fellowship
    1975, Phi Beta Kappa

    Lectureships

    2014, Univ. Alabama Huntsville Distinguished Speaker, Sept 10-12
    2013, John Bachall Lecture, Weizmann Institute, Feb 5-7
    2012, Marker Lecture, Penn State U., Mar 21-22
    2009, Marlar Lecture, Rice University, Apr 7-8
    2009, George Darwin Lecture, Royal Astronomical Society, Oct 9

    Projects

    Project Scientist, WFIRST (formerly JDEM), 2008 -
    Principal Investigator, Swift 1999 -
    Deputy Project Scientist, Fermi, 2000 -
    Mission Scientist, INTEGRAL, 1995-
    Project Scientist, CGRO, 1991-2001

    Co-Investigator

    ZTF Consortium
    LIGO Scientific Collaboration
    LAT instrument on Fermi
    INFOCUS balloon payload
    WIND Transient Gamma-Ray Spectrometer (TGRS)
    Gamma Ray Imaging Spectrometer (GRIS)
    Galileo Heavy Ion Counter (HIC)

    Committees and Offices

    President, IAU Commission D.1 Gravitational Wave Astrophs, 2015-
    Member, NAS Space Studies Board Executive Committee, 2015-
    Member, IAU Women in Astronomy Committee, 2015-
    Member, Committee NASA Mission Extensions, NRC/NAS, 2015-
    Member, ZTF Community Science Advisory Committee, 2014-
    Member, NAS Space Studies Board, 2013-
    Chair, Astronomy Section, National Academy of Sciences, 2013-
    Co-Chair, WFIRST Science Definition Team, 2013-15
    Member, Dean's Advisory Committee, MIT Kavli Institute, 2013-
    Chair, Max Planck (MPE) Science Board, 2013-
    Member, Science Council, CEA Saclay IRFU, 2013-
    Co-Chair, WFIRST-AFTA Science Definition Team, 2012-13
    Member, US National Committee of the IAU, 2012-
    Member, Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy, 2012-15
    Member, Committee on Astronomy and Public Policy, AAS, 2011-
    Chair, Commission E, COSPAR, 2006-2012
    Chair, Division of Astrophysics, APS 2007-2008
    Member, Science & Technology Committee, LANL & LLNL, 2010-
    Member, LIGO Program Advisory Committee, 2005 - 2009
    Member, VERITAS External Scientific Advisory Com., 2005 -
    Member, Los Alamos Sensors External Review Com., 2008
    Member, Naval Research Lab Focus Area Review Com., 2008
    External Scientific Advisor, CESR Scientific Council, 2003
    Member, CEA DAPNIA Scientific Review Committee, 2001, 2004
    Secretary/Treas., Division of Astrophysics, APS, 1998-2001
    Member, NASA, Structure & Evolution of Universe, 1995-2001
    Chair, High Energy Astrophysics Division, AAS, 1996-97
    Co-Chair, Gamma Ray Astronomy Program Working Group, 1995-
    Secretary/Treas., High Energy Astrophysics Division, AAS, 1991-93
    Member, NASA High Energy Astrophysics Management Operations Working Group, 1991-1994

    Professional Society Memberships

    American Astronomical Society
    International Astronomical Union
    American Physical Society
    Astronomical Society of the Pacific
    American Geophysical Union
    American Association for the Advancement of Science

    Other Professional Information

    Books

    8. 2011 Gamma-Ray Bursts 2010, ed. J. E. McEnery, J. L. Racusin, and N. Gehrels, AIP Conf. Proc. 1358 (AIP, New York)
    7. 2009 Gamma-Ray Bursts; 6th Huntsville Symposium, ed. C. Meegan, N. Gehrels, and C. Kouveliotou, AIP Conf Proc. 1133 (AIP, New York)
    6. 2006 Gamma-Ray Bursts in the Swift Era, ed. S. S. Holt, N. Gehrels, and J. A. Nousek, AIP Conf. Proc. 836 (AIP, New York)
    5. 2001 Gamma 2001, ed. S. M. Ritz, N. Gehrels and C. R. Shrader, AIP Conf. Proc. 587 (AIP, New York).
    4. 1994 Second Compton Symposium, ed. C. E. Fichtel, N. Gehrels, and J. Norris, AIP Conf. Proc. 304 (AIP, New York).
    3. 1993 Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory, ed. M. Friedlander, N. Gehrels and D. Macomb, AIP Conf. Proc. 280 (AIP, New York).
    2. 1991 Compton Observatory Science Workshop, ed. C. R. Shrader, N. Gehrels and B. Dennis, NASA Conference Publication 3137.
    1. 1988 Nuclear Spectroscopy of Astrophysical Sources, ed. N. Gehrels and G. H. Share, AIP Conf. Proc. 170 (AIP, New York). 

    Recent Invited Talks

    2016 "Gamma Ray Bursts and the Birth of Black Holes", GSFC retirees, Mar 8
    2016 "The Brightest Stuff in the Sky", Washington Academy of Sciences, Mar 6
    2016 "WFIRST Mission Status", WFIRST Conference, Pasadena, Feb 29
    2016 "The WFIRST Mission", AAS Special Session, Jan 5
    2015 "The WFIRST Mission", GSFC-JHU interaction day, Nov 18
    2015 "Adventures in Time Domain Astronomy", Howard U., Nov 17
    2015 "Adventures in Time Domain Astronomy", George Mason U., public talk, Nov 16
    2015 "Adventure in Time Domain Astronomy", Phys - Astronomy colloquium, Clemson, Oct 22
    2015 "Time Domain Observations with Swift and Fermi", Swinburne-Caltech Workshop, Oct 5
    2015 "Gamma Ray Bursts", NASM Goddard Symposium, Sept 30
    2015 "Adventures in Astrophysics", MANIAC talk, GSFC, Sept 29
    2015 "The Transient High Energy Sky", 17th Lomonosov Conference, Moscow, Aug 23
    2015 "Multimessenger Observations & Opportunities for GRBs", IAU, Honolulu, Aug 7
    2015 "Explosions Throughout the Universe", Marcel Grossmann, plenary lecture, Rome, July 16
    2015 "HEAD Meeting Summary", HEAD conference, Chicago, July 1
    2015 "Future Prospects for Gamma-ray Missions", Huntsville seminar, June 5
    2015 "Adventures in Time Domain Astronomy", US Naval Observatory colloquium, May 22
    2015 "Multi-Messenger Astronomy", Workshop on the Future of LIGO, Washington DC, May 7
    2015 "JWST and WFIRST", ISSI-Beijing GRB conference, Beijing, April 17

    Brief Bio

    Neil Gehrels is an experimental physicist working in time domain astronomy who is active in instrument development and data analysis, and dabbles in theory. His interests include gamma-ray bursts and supernovae. He is Principal Investigator for the Swift gamma-ray burst MIDEX mission. He did his PhD with Rochus Vogt and Ed Stone at Caltech on the discovery of accelerated oxygen and sulfur ions in the Jovian magnetosphere originating in the volcanoes of Io. Following a post-doc at Goddard Space Flight Center, he became a permanent employ as "astrophysicist" and then "Chief of the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory". Other responsibilities include Project Scientist for the Compton Observatory (1991-2000), Mission Scientist for INTEGRAL, a Deputy Project Scientist for Fermi, Project Scientist for WFIRST and member LIGO Science Collaboration. Committees, societies, etc. include past Chair of the AAS High Energy Astrophysics Division and the APS Division of Astrophysics, Fellow of the APS, Fellow of the AAAS, and member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His wife, Ellen Williams, is Director of ARPA-E at the Department of Energy and is on leave as a Distinguished Professor of physics at the University of Maryland. He has two children, Tom and Emily, born in 1987 and 1990. His other interests include music and moutaineering. He climbed the Nose Route on El Capitan in Yosemite in 6 day solo ascents in 2006 and 2015.

    Present Position

    Chief, Astroparticle Physics Laboratory, NASA/GSFC
    College Park Professor of Astronomy, U. Maryland
    Adjunct Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Penn State

    Research Areas

    Gamma-Ray Astronomy
    High Energy Astrophysics
    Instrument Development
    Infrared Astronomy

     

                                                                                                                                                                                            
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