Dr. Neil Gehrels

Photo of 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 gamma-ray 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. 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, and member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and National Academy of Sciences. His wife, Ellen Williams, is Chief Scientist at BP and is on leave as a Distinguished Professor of physics at the University of Maryland. He has two children, Tommy 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 a 6 day solo ascent in 2006.

    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

    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

    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

    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

    Member, NRC Space Studies Board, 2013-
    Chair, Astronomy Section, National Academy of Sciences, 2013-
    Co-Chair, WFIRST/AFT Science Definition Team, 2012-
    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-NRO (AFTA) Science Definition Team, 2012
    Member, US National Committee of the IAU, 2012-
    Member, Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy, 2012-
    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

    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

    2014, Univ. Alabama Huntsville Distinguished Speaker, Sep 10-12
    2014 "WFIRST Mission and Relation to LISA", LISA Symposium, U. Florida, May 21
    2014 "GRBs and the Birth of Black Holes", NAOC Colloquium, Beijing, May 8
    2014 "All Sky Monitor Instruments & Science", Dynamic X-ray Universe, Beijing, May 6
    2014 "GRBs and the Birth of Black Holes", LPS-U. Maryland seminar, Feb 12
    2014 "Gamma Ray Bursts Observations by NASA's Swift Mission", Riderwood, Feb. 6
    2014 "GRB Central Engines", GRB-magnetar Thinkshop, Bormio, Italy, Jan 20
    2013 "GRB Discoveries with Swift", GRB conf., Kyoto, Nov 11
    2013 "Recent Results from Swift", Gamma-Ray Sky conf., U. Minnesota, Oct 10
    2013 "Space Gamma Ray Observations as Probes of Particle Acceleration", KIPAC@10, SLAC, Sept 4
    2013 "Future high-energy gamma-ray instruments", Relativistic Jets Conf., Sweden, Aug 13
    2013 "Gamma Ray Bursts and the Birth of Black Holes", U. Hawaii Astronomy Colloq, May 16
    2013 "Gamma Ray Bursts Discoveries with Swift", U. Illinois Astronomy Colloq, Apr 30
    2013 "Black Holes", Nashville public talks, Apr 17
    2013 "Time Domain Astronomy with Swift and Fermi", UMd Space Physics seminar, Apr 1
    2013 "WFIRST-AFTA Mission", Cosmic Frontiers Workshop, SLAC, Mar 6
    2013 "GRBs and the Birth of Black Holes", J. Bachall lecture, Weizmann Inst., Feb 7
    2013 "Swift GRB Discoveries", Gravitational Waves Conference, Seoul, Jan 16

    Brief Bio

    Neil Gehrels is an experimental physicist working in gamma-ray 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. 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, and member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and National Academy of Sciences. His wife, Ellen Williams, is Chief Scientist at BP and is on leave as a Distinguished Professor of physics at the University of Maryland. He has two children, Tommy 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 a 6 day solo ascent in 2006.

    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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