HEASARC Office

Andrew Francis Ptak

(Head)

 andrew.ptak@nasa.gov

 301.286.1154

Org Code: 662

NASA/GSFC
Mail Code: 662
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Employer: NASA

Brief Bio


I received a PhD in Physics from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1997, working at NASA/GSFC with Pete Serlemitsos and Rich Mushotzky on X-ray observations of starburst galaxies and low-luminosity active galactic nuclei. I am a member of the LSST galaxy and astrostatistics science teams. I am currently a member of the NuSTAR starburst and ULX teams, and am working on future strategic and explorer X-ray missions. Prior to coming to GSFC I worked as a post-doc under Prof. Richard Griffiths at Carnegie-Mellon University (1997-2001) and as a research scientist at the Johns Hopkins University (2001-2010).

Research Interests


Extragalatic X-ray Astrophysics

Astrophysics: X-ray Astrophysics

My main research interests are in the X-ray properties of starburst galaxies, particularly hot gas and ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs), and in active galactic nuclei. I am also interested in wide-area surveys and following up unusual sources with X-ray observations. I have a strong interest in astrophysics software development, having written an automated analysis program for Chandra and XMM-Newton data that produced one of the first serendipitous source catalogs for Chandra and XMM-Newton (https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/xassist/).

Positions/Employment


Graduate Student in Physics

University of Maryland, College Park - College Park, MD

September 1992 - September 1997

Thesis title: X-ray Constraints on Accretion and Starburst Processes in Galatic Nuclei


Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Carnegie Mellon University - Pittsburgh, PA

October 1997 - July 2001



Associate Research Scientist

The Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD

July 2001 - March 2010



Research Astrophysicist

NASA/GSFC - Greenbelt, MD

March 2010 - Present



NASA Athena Project Scientist

NASA - GSFC

January 2022 - Present


Acting HEASARC Director

NASA - GSFC

September 2023 - Present


NuSTAR Mission Scientist

NASA - GSFC

2018 - 2020


NuSTAR GOF Lead

NASA - GSFC

2014 - 2020

Professional Societies


AAS AAS HEAD

1993 - Present