Chicago Astronomy Degree Recipients
Alumnus of the Day: Harley A. Thronson, 1978
Alumnus: Harley A. Thronson
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1978

Senior Scientist for Advanced Concepts in Astrophysics, NASA/GSFC


Dr. Thronsonís current responsibilities include assessment of advanced human/robotic programs in coordination with other NASA Centers, academia, and industry. In addition, he participates in the development of concepts for human exploration beyond the immediate vicinity of the Earth, as well as developing experiments for the International Space Station.

Previously, while working at NASA Headquarters, he was responsible for selection of advanced technologies to enable future science missions. He also was the program scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, the SOFIA airborne observatory, and the NASA Astrobiology Program. He has been the senior scientist on several long-range planning teams and is co-chair of the Future In-Space Operations (FISO) telecon colloquia. He has published more than 120 research papers and edited eleven books. He has chaired the planning team for more a dozen professional conferences and symposia and is currently Vice-President for Programs for the American Astronautical Society.

Dr. Thronson received his Bachelor's Degree in 1971 from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. in astrophysics in 1978 from the University of Chicago. He has been a faculty member and on the senior staff of the Universities of Arizona and Wyoming, and the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. He began work at NASA in 1996.

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