Ian P. Griffin

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Dr Ian P. Griffin at the Space Telescope Science Institute. NASA image

Dr. Ian P. Griffin is the Director of Otago Museum, Dunedin, New Zealand. He is the former CEO of Science Oxford, in Oxford, UK, and the former head of public outreach at NASA's Space Telescope Science Institute. Griffin is a professional astronomer and public spokesman upon scientific matters.

Biographical information[edit]

Griffin began his professional life at University College London where he decided to pursue a career combining both astronomical research and public outreach. He was director of the Armagh Planetarium from 1990 to 1995. He then worked at Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory at Brevard Community College in Cocoa, Florida and Auckland Observatory in New Zealand before accepting the position as head of public outreach at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, US.[1]

From 2004 to 2007 Griffin was director of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.[2]

Griffin studied and trained to be an astronomer. He obtained his PhD in astronomy from University College London, in 1991.[3]

Significant achievements[edit]

In his time at Space Telescope, Griffin contributed to the observation and study of a scientifically significant binary asteroid system, known as 1998 WW31.[4] This was only the second such binary system discovered in the Kuiper belt (the other being the Pluto and Charon system) and provided valuable data helping astronomers understand the mass and behaviour of objects in the Kuiper belt.[5] Griffin also discovered (via search programmes using small telescopes) and had the privilege of naming of a number of main belt asteroids including 10924 Mariagriffin, 23990 Springsteen and 33179 Arsènewenger, named after Arsène Wenger, the manager of Griffin's favourite football team, Arsenal.


  1. ^ Trifourki, Sotira (Manchester Astronomical Society) (2005). "Observing Solar System Objects with the Hubble Space Telescope" (HTTP). Retrieved 18 January 2006. 
  2. ^ Ottewell, David (14 January 2004). "Science museum lands space ace". Manchester News. 
  3. ^ Griffin, Ian (2013). "Ian Griffin's Blog". 
  4. ^ Christian Veillet, Joel Wm. Parker et al. (2002). "The binary Kuiper-belt object 1998 WW31" (PDF). Nature 416 (18 April 2002): 711–713. doi:10.1038/416711a. PMID 11961547. 
  5. ^ "Hubble Hunts Down Binary Objects at the Fringe of Our Solar System" (Press release). NASA STSci. April 17, 2002.