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Robert O'Connell

Robert O'Connell

(University of Virginia)

Robert W. O'Connell is J. D. Hamilton Professor of Astronomy at the University of Virginia. He grew up in San Francisco and received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and the California Institute of Technology. He has been at UVa since 1971, where he served as departmental chair for a total of 11 years. Dr. O'Connell's main research interests center on the evolution of galaxies as revealed by their stellar populations, especially in unusual environments such as starbursts and cooling flows in clusters of galaxies. He has published over 200 scientific papers. He has long been active in space astronomy, especially observations in the ultraviolet, and served as chair of the international science working group for the Starlab project and as a co-investigator on the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope, which flew on two Space Shuttle missions in the 1990's. Dr. O'Connell has been chair of the Scientific Oversight Committee for the Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope since 1998.

The members of the WFC3 Science Oversight Committee and Early Release Science, which includes observations of M83 include: R. O'Donnell (University of Virginia), B. Balick (University of Washington), H. Bond (STScI), D. Calzetti (University of Massachusetts), M. Carollo (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich), M. Disney (University of Wales, College of Cardiff), M. Dopita (Australian National University), J. Frogel (Ohio State University Research Foundation) , D. Hall (University of Hawaii), J. Holtzman (New Mexico State University), P. McCarthy (Carnegie Institution of Washington), F. Paresce (European Southern Observatory, Germany), A.Saha (NOAO/AURA) , J. Silk (University of Oxford), A. Walker (NOAO/CTIO) , B. Whitmore (STScI), R. Windhorst (Arizona State University), and E. Young (University of Arizona).


Francesco Paresce

Francesco Paresce

IASF, Bologna, Italy

Francesco Paresce is currently a senior astronomer with the Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica in Bologna, Italy. He is also a consultant for the European Space Agency (ESA) on the ESA/NASA joint project for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and is a member of the Science Oversight Committee for the Wide Field Camera 3 that has been recently installed into the HST by the shuttle Science Servicing Mission 4. His research interest at the moment concerns the physics of star formation in super star clusters in the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds. He worked in the past for ESA as the project scientist for the Faint Object Camera on HST and for the European Southern Observatory as project scientist of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer. He holds a doctorate in Physics from the University of Rome La Sapienza and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of California at Berkeley where he worked on several space physics missions for NASA.

His hobbies and interests are skiing in the Alps and kayaking in the oceans and lagoons of the world. When it's raining outside he "likes to bone up on the latest physical theories of the universe and attempt (vainly usually) to understand its possibly hidden spiritual dimensions."

Dr. Paresce is photographed above with his two grandsons in Venice in 2009.


Erick Young

Erick Young

SOFIA/ NASA Ames Research Center

Erick Young is an authority on infrared instrumentation for astronomy, and he has participated in virtually all the space infrared astronomy missions to date. He obtained his Ph.D. in Astronomy from the State University of New York, Stony Brook in 1978.

Dr. Young is currently the Director for NASA's Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy, (SOFIA) at NASA Ames Research Center Program.

His previous work at the University of Arizona included a position as Deputy Principal Investigator for the MIPS instrument on Spitzer. He is also a member of the Science Oversight Committee for the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) which currently has infrared capabilities. In addition, Young is directing construction of the infrared detector arrays for the James Webb Space Telescope's Near Infrared Camera, known as NIRCam.

His astronomical interests include the study of both primordial and debris disks around stars. He is the recipient of the George Van Biesbroeck Prize as well as five NASA Group Achievement Awards.