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Chat Host Dr. H. John Wood's Biography:
Dr. H. John Wood is an astronomer and serves as an optical engineer for the Optics Branch at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Since June 1990, he has been Optics Lead Engineer on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Project. He led the team that successfully determined the optical prescription of HST while on orbit. He then led NASA's effort to develop and test the corrective optics for HST. In addition to his work on Hubble, he recently served as Science Liaison in the Instrument Synthesis & Analysis Laboratory for new Earth Science and Space Science instrument engineering design at Goddard. He participated in 114 concept studies over eight years in the lab. In addition to his work on the Hubble Space Telescope, he has recently been assigned as optics lead engineer for the ATLAS project, a lidar to measure the ice on both poles of the Earth.
A graduate of Swarthmore College, Dr. Wood earned a M.A. and Ph.D. in Astronomy from Indiana University. He has been at Goddard Space Flight Center for over 20 years. In addition to the Hubble Project, he has been Lead Optical Engineer on other Goddard projects: the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter and the Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment aboard the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE). Earlier he served as assistant to the director at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (Chile) for two years. He held a Fulbright Research Fellowship for two years at the University Observatory in Vienna, Austria. He also served five years as a staff astronomer at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. His career began with six years on the astronomy faculty of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville.
Winner of the 1992 NASA exceptional service medal and the 1994 NASA exceptional achievement medal for his work on COBE and HST, he is the author of more than 50 research papers in astronomy and space optics. He was invited by the Optical Society of America to edit special editions of Applied Optics and Optics and Photonics News on the HST first servicing mission. He was co-chair of the HST Independent Optical Review Panel that was charged with the determination of the optical parameters for the HST while on orbit.
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