Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Defying Gravity and Overcoming Inertia: A Systems Perspective



Dr. David Miller: "In many ways, aerospace was not my choice. It was forced upon me at an early age, though I was a very willing convert. Since then, it has been my passion as a career and as a hobby. From MIT to the Air Force to NASA, from teaching to research to service, defying gravity and overcoming inertia to do so has been my lifelong goal."

Dr. David Miller, NASA Chief Technologist, NASA HQ

Wednesday, November 18, 2015



Dr. Spiro K. Antiochos: "I’ve spent the better part of the last forty years trying to understand the workings of the Sun as revealed by observations, primarily from NASA missions. Unfortunately, I’ve failed more often than not, but once in a while, I’ve had an idea that led to significant progress (I hope!). In this talk, I will give a forward-looking retrospective on my experiences and attempt to draw useful insights on what it takes to make a real advance in understanding how the Sun works. My feeling is that the lessons I have learned on generating new ideas and theories apply to all areas of science, and would be useful for anyone interested in pursuing a career in theory and modeling."

Dr. Spiro K. Antiochos, Chief Scientist, Heliophysics Division, NASA/GSFC

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Adventures in Astrophysics



Dr. Neil Gehrels: "I had a few early bumps in the road such as ruining my father's optical plates at Palomar and sinking all my spare time into a rock band. Life took an upswing in grad school when I became hooked on space astronomy through a close encounter with Jupiter …. and with Ellen. A job at Goddard turned into an adventure in astrophysics that has lasted a career. Many mentors helped through crashes and wrong turns, and finally on to powerful missions to study exploding sources in the universe such as supernovae and gamma-ray bursts."

Dr. Neil Gehrels, Chief of the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory, GSFC

Monday, August 31, 2015

Servicing and NASA



Mr. Frank J. Cepollina: "I've been working on servicing in one way or another since 1970. I'll give a rundown of my career in servicing but am looking most forward to talking about the future of servicing and scientific missions working together in the future. The old NASA entrepreneurial spirit needs to be reinvigorated and I am investing all of my energy to restore it!"

Mr. Frank Cepollina, 2003 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee

Monday, July 20, 2015

Zombies, Sports, and Cola: Implications for Communicating Weather and Climate



Dr. Marshall Shepherd: "If you look around, the globe is experiencing horrific heat waves (India, Pakistan), crippling drought (Western California), and deadly typhoons (Haiyan). These events are at the nexus of weather and climate communication, yet there is more confusion than ever. Believe it or not, I will tie zombies, sports, and cola together to provide a compelling look at how we communicate (miscommunicate) weather and climate."

Dr. Marshall Shepherd, Professor, University of Georgia & Host of WxGeeks Show

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Confessions of a Wannabe Meteorologist



Dr. Richard Eckman: "From the time that I was in 5th grade, I was convinced that I would become a meteorologist. I think that it was due to an early fascination with lightning. But, through chance encounters (like one on a Pan Am 747) and much serendipity, I ended up as an atmospheric chemical modeler at NASA. I think that I was destined to work at NASA (not that I really believe in those sorts of things!). In this talk, I'll describe some of those encounters and experiences that led me from meteorology to ionospheric physics to mesospheric chemistry and, ultimately, to program management."

Dr. Richard Eckman, Program Manager, NASA Headquarters

Friday, June 5, 2015

Lately it occurs to me, what a long, strange trip it's been: one technocrat’s unguided tour through oceanography



Dr. Rick Spinrad: "Jerry Garcia had it right. As a kid growing up in New York City I never would have thought I’d end up taking the road that I did. Of course I credit Jacques Cousteau, but also have to thank Paul Rabinowitz, who hooked me on oceanography when I was an impressionable junior high school student. My professional career has been a completely unpredictable but fascinating jaunt through science. In the name of science I’ve survived Crossing the Line, lived on four different submarines, flown through the eye of a hurricane, nearly gotten shot in Africa, eaten a cobra heart, busked in bars in Peru, and served every U.S. President since Ronald Reagan. If it hadn’t been for good luck, healthy scientific curiosity, a questionable degree of risk tolerance, and the good fortune of being connected to the right people in the right place at the right time, I might have been a lifelong academician as was typical of my generation of scientists. I will share a handful of tipping points in my career and how I’ve come to understand the value of transdisciplinarity, odds-weighing, and timing in developing what - for me - has been a fascinating, if not somewhat chaotic, life in science."

Dr. Rick Spinrad, Chief Scientist, NOAA

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ozone has been very, very good to me!



Dr. Richard Stolarski: "I started a career in physics as an undergraduate student at the College of Puget Sound, a full 3 miles from my home in Tacoma, Washington. I wandered across the country to Florida to go to graduate school and then to Michigan for a post-doc position. I eventually joined NASA in Houston as part of the Shuttle Environmental Effects Project Office, working on the writing of the environmental impact statement for the space shuttle. I finally came to Goddard in 1976 into a fledgling branch created to study the ozone layer. I went from a physics degree to research on the ionosphere and thermosphere, and finally drifted downward into the stratosphere. I will describe the history of our developing understanding of the stratospheric ozone layer from the 1970s to the present as I saw it. In the 1970s, we were just beginning to realize that the chemistry of minor constituents in the stratosphere mattered to the ozone layer; today, we have gone through major scientific and political developments that have led to the Montreal Protocol that bans the production of many ozone-depleting substances. I was extremely lucky to get into this exciting field in its early stages and to be an eyewitness to much of the historical development of our understanding. I will highlight some (hopefully useful) lessons that I have learned on this journey."

Dr. Richard Stolarski, Research Professor, Johns Hopkins University; NASA/GSFC (Emeritus)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sheer luck: How I stumbled my way through a fantastic scientific career



Dr. Eugenia Kalnay: "From my mother who changed my major from physics to meteorology, I had sheer good luck deciding my career. I started at the great School of Sciences (University of Buenos Aires) and went through MIT, where I was the first woman to get a doctorate in Meteorology, and the first to become a professor. At Goddard I was exposed to the best mentors and scientists. At NOAA it was exciting to direct the Environmental Modeling Center, and I am now at the University of Maryland, where I learn from about 25 doctoral students that I was lucky to mentor."

Dr. Eugenia Kalnay, Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland, College Park

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Some pretty good rules for a career: Newman’s Own Lessons



Dr. Paul Newman: "I grew up in in the middle of Seattle, moved to rural Iowa for graduate school, and made my way to NASA/GSFC in 1984. There were a lot of people who helped me get to GSFC and there were a lot of people who helped me when I got here. This brings me to Rule #1: There is no such thing as a self made-man. After about a year at GSFC, Mark Schoeberl and Rich Stolarski started talking to me about some very interesting observations of ozone over Antarctica – the ozone hole. In 1985 we started down a science trail of trying to understand why there was a massive depletion of ozone over Antarctica. Bringing me to Rule #2: If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there. In 1985, I didn’t believe that CFCs were responsible for the ozone hole. But, some obnoxious observations ruined the elaborate “dynamical” theory of the ozone hole. Hence, Rule #3: You need to learn how to handle the truth. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a difficult time giving up their preconceptions. Here we get to Rule #4: Never argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference. Make your science case and be an impartial arbiter of the facts. I’ve now been at GSFC for 31 years, and I still enjoy the day-to-day learning experience of being amongst some of the gifted scientists in the world."

Dr. Paul Newman, Chief Scientist for Atmospheric Sciences, NASA GSFC, Earth Sciences Division

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How much first-principle physics do we need in remote-sensing and atmospheric-radiation research?



Dr. Michael I. Mishchenko: "Probably few would openly question the importance of fundamental physics to the disciplines of remote sensing and atmospheric radiation. However, my physics training at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology has often caused me to be skeptical in the face of the widespread complacent conviction that all the requisite first-principle physics is already at work. This skepticism has shaped my contributions to the disciplines of electromagnetic scattering, radiative transfer, and remote sensing which have found widespread use. It has also solidified my belief that decisive progress in remote-sensing and atmospheric-radiation research is problematic without recognizing that these disciplines are still heavily based on centuries-old phenomenological concepts."

Dr. Michael I. Mishchenko, Senior Scientist, NASA GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies)