Thomas Zurbuchen

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Thomas Zurbuchen
James Webb Space Telescope Town Hall (30702908816).jpg
Education University of Bern
Known forAssociate Administrator, NASA (2016-current)

Thomas Hansueli Zurbuchen (born 1968) is a Swiss-American astrophysicist. Since October 2016, [1] he has been the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA. [2] Prior to this, he was Professor of Space Science and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan, where he helped found the Center for Entrepreneurship.

The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) engages the United States’ science community, sponsors scientific research, and develops and deploys satellites and probes in collaboration with NASA's partners around the world to answer fundamental questions requiring the view from and into space.

NASA space-related agency of the United States government

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

University of Michigan Public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

The University of Michigan, often simply referred to as Michigan, is a public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The university is Michigan's oldest; it was founded in 1817 in Detroit, as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the territory became a state. The school was moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet spread out over a Central Campus and North Campus, two regional campuses in Flint and Dearborn, and a Center in Detroit. The university is a founding member of the Association of American Universities.



Zurbuchen studied physics at the University of Bern, with a minor in mathematics, and was awarded the PhD in 1996 with a thesis entitled "Turbulence in the interplanetary medium and its implications on the dynamics of minor ions". [3] He then joined the University of Michigan as a research associate, and was made professor in 2008. His scientific research focuses on solar and heliospheric physics, experimental space research, and space systems; he is also well known for his personal work on innovation and entrepreneurship.

Physics Study of the fundamental properties of matter and energy

Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its motion and behavior through space and time, and that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves.

University of Bern university in the Swiss capital of Bern

The University of Bern is a university in the Swiss capital of Bern and was founded in 1834. It is regulated and financed by the Canton of Bern. It is a comprehensive university offering a broad choice of courses and programs in eight faculties and some 150 institutes. With around 18'019 students, the University of Bern is the third biggest University in Switzerland.

Mathematics Field of study concerning quantity, patterns and change

Mathematics includes the study of such topics as quantity, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and change. It has no generally accepted definition.

In 2004, Zurbuchen was awarded the US Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. [4] He served as team leader for the development of one of the scientific instruments aboard NASA's Messenger spacecraft to Mercury, the Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer. [5] He chaired the National Academy of Sciences committee that produced a report in 2016 on Cubesats. [6]

The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on outstanding scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers. The White House, following recommendations from participating agencies, confers the awards annually. To be eligible for a Presidential Award, an individual must be a US citizen, national or permanent resident. Some of the winning scientists and engineers receive up to a five-year research grant.

Mercury (planet) Smallest and closest planet to the Sun in the Solar System

Mercury is the smallest and innermost planet in the Solar System. Its orbital period around the Sun of 87.97 days is the shortest of all the planets in the Solar System. It is named after the Roman deity Mercury, the messenger of the gods.

National Academy of Sciences science branch of the United States National Academies

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a United States nonprofit, non-governmental organization. NAS is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, along with the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).

Zurbuchen is married with two children.

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  1. "NASAWatch article announcing Zurbuchen's NASA appointment" . Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  2. "Thomas Zurbuchen bio at NASA" . Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  3. "Astrophysics Data System reference for Zurbuchen's thesis". Bibcode:1996PhDT........34Z.
  4. "PRNewsWire article "White House Announces Awards for Early Career Scientists and Engineers"l".
  5. "FIPS Page at University of Michigan" . Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  6. "Achieving Science with CubeSats: Thinking Inside the Box (2016)" . Retrieved 17 January 2017.