Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Zaven Arzoumanian

(Research AST, Fields and Particles)


Org Code: 662

Mail Code: 662
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Employer: NASA

Current Projects

Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) Mission

Deputy Principal Investigator and Science Lead

X-ray and radio studies of pulsars and associated phenomena, including the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav)


Internal and emission properties, nebulae, tests of relativity, binary evolution, and low-frequency gravitational waves

Technology development

X-ray diffractometry using CCDs, for Earth and planetary exploration
Modulated X-ray sources, for detector calibration, communication, material science, and medical applications
X-ray "concentrator" optics, for telescopes with large effective-area to mass ratios


Research Astrophysicist

NASA - NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD

February 2017 - Present

Senior Research Scientist

USRA - NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD

2011 - February 2017

Director of Astronomy

USRA - Arecibo Observatory, Arecibo, PR

November 2011 - August 2012

Research Scientist

USRA - NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD

2004 - 2011

Research Associate

USRA - NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD

2001 - 2004

Natl Res. Council Associate

NASA GSFC - Greenbelt, MD

1999 - 2001

Research Associate

Cornell University - Ithaca, NY

1994 - 1999

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Princeton University - Princeton, NJ

1992 - 1994

Graduate Research Assistant

Princeton University - Princeton, NJ

1989 - 1994


1995 PhD, Physics Princeton University
Thesis: "Radio Observations of Binary Pulsars: Clues to Binary Evolution and Tests of General Relativity". Advisor: J. H. Taylor
1991 MA, Physics Princeton University
1989 BSc, Physics (Highest Honours) McGill University

Special Experience

Founding Director & current President, Wild Me, 501(c)(3) scientific charitable organization — and NASA technology transfer success story at



Arzoumanian, Z., E. V. Gotthelf, S. M. Ransom, et al. S. Safi-Harb, R. Kothes, and T. L. Landecker. 2011. Discovery of an Energetic Pulsar Associated with SNR G769+10 Astrophysical Journal 739 (1): 39 [10.1088/0004-637X/739/1/39]

Arzoumanian, Z., S. Safi-Harb, T. L. Landecker, R. Kothes, and F. Camilo. 2008. Chandra Confirmation of a Pulsar Wind Nebula in DA 495 The Astrophysical Journal 687 505 [10.1086/591654]

Arzoumanian, Z., J. Holmberg, and B. Norman. 2005. An Astronomical Pattern-Matching Algorithm for Computer-Aided Identification of Whale Sharks Journal of Applied Ecology 42 999

Stairs, I. H., S. E. Thorsett, and Z. Arzoumanian. 2004. Measurement of Spin-Orbit Coupling in a Binary Pulsar System Physics Review Letters 93 101

Arzoumanian, Z., K. C. Gendreau, W. C. Cash, A. F. Shipley, and S. Z. Queen. 2004. Laboratory Testbeds for Broadband X-ray Interferometry SPIE 5488 623