James Garvin Maniac Lecture

Personal Photograph

Chief Scientist, NASA GSFC

A veteran Earth and planetary scientist, Dr. James Garvin has a 20+-year career within NASA. Currently he is leading a team of scientists who are using the Hubble Space Telescope to explore the lunar surface at ultraviolet wavelengths in search of potential resources in support of the Vision for Space Exploration. He was a member of Sally Ride's post-Challenger team, and chaired the 1999-2001 NASA Decadal Planning Team (for Exploration), as well as the requirements definition team for the 2008 Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission. He has been a Co-Investigator on the Mars Observer, Mars Global Surveyor, NEAR-Shoemaker, Radarsat and ENVISAT missions. Dr. Garvin was integral to the creation of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) experiment and led the scientific investigation of impact cratering processes for Mars using MOLA topographic data; additionally, he served as the chief scientist on the two flights of the Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) experiment on STS-72 and STS-85. His expertise includes the geology and geophysics of impact craters; he has participated in expeditions to various terrestrial impact sites, and has led more than a dozen aircraft laser remote sensing campaigns to locations ranging from Iceland, Mt. St. Helens, and islands in the Caribbean (to name a few). He was NASA's Project Scientist for the Earth System Science Pathfinder program during the first five years of its existence.

Prior to coming to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Dr. Garvin served as the NASA Chief Scientist, advising three separate Administrators, as well as serving as the Chief Scientist for Mars exploration from 2000 – 2004. With his involvement, direction and strategy, NASA selected such missions as the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Phoenix polar lander, and the Mars Science Laboratory. Dr. Garvin received two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals for his work with the science behind the Mars Exploration Program. He earned his Ph.D. from Brown University, as well as an MS from Stanford University and a second MS from Brown. He graduated with highest honors from Brown, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, was elected a Trustee of Brown University, and was the 2005 William Rogers award recipient (Brown University) for his contributions to society.