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Fazio, Giovanni



Infrared astronomy, including satellite and ground-based observations using infrared array cameras; the early universe; star formation and evolution; brown dwarfs; and ultraluminous galaxies.

Professional Biography

  • Dr. Fazio is presently Senior Physicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; Lecturer, Astronomy Department, Harvard University; and Faculty Emeritus, International Space University, Strasbourg, France. He received BS (Physics) and BA (Chemistry) degrees from St. Mary's University, Texas, in 1954, and a Ph.D. (Physics) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1959, having done his graduate work in elementary particle physics. The same year, he joined the Physics Department, University of Rochester, where he pioneered the development of gamma-ray astronomy using balloon-borne telescopes and was the Co-Principal Investigator for the gamma-ray telescope experiment on NASA’s first Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO-1; 1962). In 1962 he joined the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory, where he initiated a program in gamma-ray astronomy using balloon-borne and ground-based telescopes He initiated the construction of the 10-meter optical reflector at the F. L. Whipple Observatory, Arizona, to search for ultrahigh-energy cosmic gamma-rays. In the early 1970's he pioneered the development of large balloonborne telescopes for far-infrared astronomical observations above the atmosphere, and for twenty years was Principal Investigator for the 1-Meter Balloon-Borne Far-Infrared Telescope. He was also the Principal Investigator for the first infrared astronomical telescope to fly on the Spacelab II flight of the Space Shuttle (1985). In 1984 he was selected as Principal Investigator for the Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) experiment on the Spitzer Space Telescope, one of NASA's Great Observatories. The Spitzer Space Telescope was launched in August 2003 and terminated in January 2020. Dr. Fazio was also a Co-Investigator on the Submillimeter Wave Astronomical Satellite (SWAS; 1998). His current research interests include the development of infrared instrumentation and the use of infrared array cameras on ground-based and space telescopes to observe galaxy formation and evolution in the early Universe, black holes, ultraluminous galaxies, star formation and evolution, brown dwarfs, and asteroids. Dr. Fazio is past President of the International Astronomical Union’s Division XI and Commission 44 (Space and High Energy Astrophysics); past Chairman, Universities Space Research Association (USRA) Science Council for Astronomy and Space Physics; past Vice-Chairman of the COSPAR Commission on Research in Astrophysics from Space; and a past member of the Space Telescope Institute Council (STIC) and NASA’s Astrophysics Subcommittee. Dr. Fazio is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and past chairman of its Astrophysics Division, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a Legacy Fellow of the American Astronomical Society and past chairman of its High Energy Astrophysics Division. He is also a member of the International Astronomical Union, the Optical Society of America, and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He has been a member of numerous national and international advisory committees and is an author on more than 350 publications in refereed scientific journals. Dr. Fazio has received seven NASA Group Achievement Awards and in 1998 he received the Tsiolkovsky Medal, Russia’s State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics. In 2005 he received the UNICO National Marconi Science Medal and the NASA Public Service Medal, and in 2008 the Royal Society of London/COSPAR Massey Award (Gold Medal) for outstanding achievements in space science. In 2009 he received the Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar Award and in 2010 the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Muhlman Award to the Spitzer Space Telescope Team. In 2012 St. Mary’s University, Texas, awarded Dr. Fazio a Ph.D. Degree, honoris causa, and in 2015 he received the highest award of the American Astronomical Society, the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship. Dr. Fazio was awarded the SPIE George W. Goddard Award in Space and Airborne Optics in 2019..