Neil Gehrels

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Neil Gehrels
Born Cornelis A. Gehrels
Occupation research scientist, professor, lecturer, author
Known for Astrophysics researcher
Awards Henry Draper Medal (2009)

Neil Gehrels (1952) is an astrophysicist specializing in the field of Gamma-ray astronomy.[1] He graduated in 1976 with Bachelor's degrees in music and physics from the University of Arizona. He received his Ph.D. in physics in 1982 from the California Institute of Technology.[2] He is married to Ellen Williams, who is a professor of physics at the University of Maryland and Chief Scientist of BP. They have two children. Thomas (born, 1987) and Emily (born, 1990). His father was Tom Gehrels, also an astronomer.


Dr. Gehrels is currently the Chief of the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. He is the Principal Investigator for the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission. Other responsibilities include: Project Scientist for the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (1991–2000), Mission Scientist for Mission INTEGRAL, Deputy Project Scientist for the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and Project Scientist for Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope - WFIRST.[3] He is also a College Park Professor at the University of Maryland and adjunct professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State. His research focuses on transient objects in the universe such as gamma-ray bursts, supernovae and active galaxy flares. He has worked to develop gamma-ray astrophysics from a field of experiments detecting a few objects to a full astronomical discipline with thousands of sources in many classes.[4]



  1. ^ "Astronomer to speak on 'Cosmic Catastrophes'" by Tim Stephens (April 19, 1999)
  2. ^ Deputy Project Scientist for GLAST
  3. ^ WFIRST Home Page
  4. ^ Neil Gehrels' Home Page
  5. ^ "Henry Draper Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 24 February 2011.