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Mark Clampin
Mark Clampin

Mark Clampin


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 operations.

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.