Mark Clampin is currently
on sabbatical at the Johns Hopkins University, working
on Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) coronagraphic
observations of debris disks. An early love of astronomy
led him to graduate study at the University of St.
Andrews in Scottland, where he managed to spend
four years without playing single round of golf.
Mark spent two years at STScI as an ESA Fellow,
followed by three years at Johns Hopkins University.
In 1992, Mark joined the Institute as an Instrument
Scientist supporting the development of new instruments
for Hubble. Initially, he supported the first servicing
mission as a Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2)
Instrument Scientist, moving on to become a STIS
Instrument Scientist. In 1994 he was a member of
the science team awarded the contract to build ACS.
He played a major role as the ACS Detector Scientist,
responsible for the three ACS detector systems.
Mark became ACS Group Lead in the Hubble Division
in 1998, and served for over four years, until ACS
had successfully embarked on its first year of science
Mark’s scientific interests
are the formation and evolution of planetary systems,
stellar populations the late stages of stellar evolution.
He also develops astronomical instrumentation, in
particular space optics, detectors and stellar coronagraphs.
In the last few years, Mark has become interested
in the problem of direct planet detection and recently
formed a science team to develop a MIDEX proposal.
The Jovian Planet Finder, a 1.5 meter aperture coronagraph
is designed to survey nearby stars for the presence
of Jovian planets.
Outside of work, Mark’s
main interest has always been scuba diving. He started
diving in the U.K. in 1974 and has dived all over
the world. The culmination of his diving career
came in 1998, when he spent two weeks diving the
Bismark Sea and Dampier Straits in Papua New Guinea.
Mark is also a keen skier and has recently started
to learn to fly. He is married to ESA Astronomer
Antonella Nota at the Institute, with whom he is
trying to master the ultimate extreme sport, parenting.
They have an 3-year-old daughter, Simona.