Neil Gehrels Maniac Lecture

Personal Photograph

Neil Gehrels is an experimental physicist working in gamma-ray astronomy. He is active in instrument development and data analysis, and dabbles in theory. His interests include gamma-ray bursts and supernovae. He is Principal Investigator for the Swift gamma-ray burst MIDEX (Medium-Class Explorers) mission. He did his PhD with Rochus Vogt and Ed Stone at Caltech on the discovery of accelerated oxygen and sulfur ions in the Jovian magnetosphere originating in the volcanoes of Io. Following a post-doc at Goddard Space Flight Center, he became a permanent employee as "astrophysicist" and then "Chief of the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory." Other responsibilities include Project Scientist for the Compton Observatory (1991-2000), Mission Scientist for INTEGRAL (International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory), a Deputy Project Scientist for Fermi, Project Scientist for WFIRST (Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope) and member LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) Science Collaboration. He is a past Chair of the AAS (American Astronomical Society) High Energy Astrophysics Division and the APS (American Physical Society) Division of Astrophysics, Fellow of the APS, and member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and National Academy of Sciences. His other interests include music and mountaineering. He climbed the Nose Route on El Capitan in Yosemite in a 6 day solo ascent in 2006. Neil’s wife, Ellen Williams, is Director of ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) at the Department of Energy and is on leave as a Distinguished Professor of physics at the University of Maryland. He has two children, Tommy and Emily, born in 1987 and 1990). His father was Tom Gehrels, also an astronomer.