Harold F. Levison

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Harold F. Levison
Born March 1, 1959
Philadelphia, PA
Nationality United States
Fields Astronomy
Institutions Southwest Research Institute
Alma mater Franklin and Marshall College
Doctoral advisor D. O. Richstone

Harold F. "Hal" Levison is a planetary scientist specializing in planetary dynamics. He argued for a distinction between what are now called dwarf planets and the other eight planets based on their inability to "clear the neighborhood around their orbits", although his proposal suggested the terms "unterplanet" and "überplanet" and used the word "dwarf" to mean something else.[1] Among other achievements, he is the co-author of SWIFT, a commonly used symplectic integrator that solves planetary equations of motion for periods of billions of years.[2] He currently works at the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO, and studies planetary orbits and their evolution through solar system history.

Levison is the Principal Investigator of the proposed Lucy mission to tour five Jupiter trojans which was selected as one of five semifinalists for the 2015 NASA Discovery Program mission competition.[3]


  1. ^ Stern, S. Alan; Levison, Harold F. (2002). "Regarding the criteria for planethood and proposed planetary classification schemes" (PDF). Highlights of Astronomy. 12: 205–213, as presented at the XXIVth General Assembly of the IAU–2000 [Manchester, UK, 7–18 August 2000]. 
  2. ^ Dennis Ward (2002). "Solar System Dynamics: Planet V and Lunar Late Heavy Bombardment" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  3. ^ Brown, Cantillo, Dwayne C., Laurie. "NASA Selects Investigations for Future Key Planetary Mission". nasa.gov. NASA. Retrieved 5 October 2015.