Richard Fisher Maniac Lecture

Personal Photograph

Richard R. Fisher is an astrophysicist who worked both in academia and at NASA. Before joining NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 1991, he was an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii, 1965 to 1971, a staff scientist and then section head at the Sacramento Peak Observatory, 1971 to 1976, and worked at the National Center for Atmospheric Research from 1975 to 1991. He became the Branch Chief for the Solar Physics Branch at the Goddard Space Flight Center from 1991 to 1998, and the Laboratory Chief for the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Solar Physics from 1998 to 2002. From 2002 to 2012, he moved to NASA Headquarters and served in various capacities including the Director of the Sun-Earth Connections Division, Deputy Director of the Earth–Sun Systems Division and Director of the Heliophysics Division.

Dr. Fisher was a primary investigator on the Spartan (Shuttle Point Autonomous Research Tool for Astronomy) and other satellite projects that were launched from several Space Shuttle missions STS-56, STS-64, STS-69, STS-87 and STS-95, which measured solar wind and other solar emissions, and he was responsible for coordinating the work of Spartan with the European Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. He was responsible for the development and launch of the Solar Dynamics Observatory in 2010.

Dr. Fisher was a spokesman for NASA in 2010 when it announced that the sun was entering a cycle of increasingly powerful storms that would peak in 2013. He also announced the release of NASA's second smart phone app, the 3D sun, which allowed people to monitor the sun in real time. He was the recipient of a Presidential Rank Award in the Senior Executive Service in 2007 and was presented with NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal in 2011.