Samuel T. Durrance
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Samuel Thornton Durrance
|Born||September 17, 1943 (age 76)|
|JHU Payload Specialist|
Time in space
|25d 14h 13min|
Durrance was born September 17, 1943, in Tallahassee, Florida, but considers Tampa, Florida his hometown. He received a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in physics (with honors), at California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA), 1972 and 1974, respectively, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in astro-geophysics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, 1980.
Durrance was a Principal Research Scientist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. He was a co-investigator for the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope, one of the instruments of the Astro Observatory.
Durrance has been involved in the flight hardware development, optical and mechanical design, construction, and integration of the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope and the Astro Observatory. He has conducted research and directed graduate students at the Johns Hopkins University for the past 15 years. He has designed and built spectrometers, detectors, and imaging systems, and made numerous spacecraft and ground-based astronomical observations. He conceived and directed a program at Johns Hopkins University to develop adaptive-optics instrumentation for ground based astronomy. He led the team that designed and constructed the Adaptive Optics Coronagraph, which led to the discovery of the first cool brown dwarf orbiting a nearby star. He also a co-discoverer of changes in the planet-forming disk surrounding the star beta Pictoris.
His research interests include the origin and evolution of the solar system, the search for planets around other stars, planetary astronomy, atmospheric physics, nuclear physics, adaptive optics, spacecraft operations, and the origin of life. He has published over 60 technical papers in professional journals covering these topics.
Current Assignment (2006)
Within the last two years he has taught several undergraduate classes including Comparative Planetology, Modern Physics, and Astrobiology, and Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics.
He has also worked with graduate and undergraduate students on research dealing with astronaut health and bone loss, the detection of extrasolar planets, lunar dust electrodynamics, and very long baseline interferometry.
-  PSS Faculty