Bill Blair is an Astrophysicist and Associate
Research Professor in the Department
of Physics and Astronomy at The
Johns Hopkins University . He has been at Johns
Hopkins since 1984, and was involved previously
in the support of the Astro-1 (December 1990) and
Astro-2 (March 1995) space shuttle missions that
Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope into space. Bill's
current position is with the
Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE)
project at Johns Hopkins, where he is Chief of Mission
Planning. (FUSE is a satellite developed by JHU
for NASA, and launched June 24, 1999, for a three-year
mission.) Dr. Blair's main scientific interests
lie in the areas of gaseous nebulae, supernova remnants
and the interstellar medium.
Bill grew up west of Detroit, Michigan, "back
when the skies were still dark at night," he says.
The picture above was taken in the back yard where
he grew up, about 20 feet away from where he used
to set up his 4-inch Newtonian telescope to scan
the southern Milky Way on warm, summer nights. Growing
up in the 1960's during the heyday of the Apollo
missions had an indelible effect on Bill, who was
an active model rocketeer. "Not quite October
Sky," he says, "but I have some old home movies
that are pretty good!"
Bill always liked physics and math, but never
really thought of astronomy as something you did
for a career. After graduating from Olivet College,
a small liberal arts college in Michigan, Bill applied
to the University of Michigan for graduate school
in astronomy, and the rest, as they say, is history.
To date, Bill has authored or co-authored over 140
papers, primarily on supernova remnants, using a
wide range of ground-based and space-based telescopes.
Believe it or not, Bill also has a life outside
astronomy! He enjoys gardening, photography, coin
collecting, and spending time with his family. Bill
is married, and he and his wife, Jean, have two
children, Amy (13) from Seoul, South Korea, and
Jeremy (10) from Calcutta, India.