The Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory
Credit: NASA

The Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory

At the 2018 Winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society, NASA announced that the Swift Observatory was being re-named in honor of Dr. Neil Gehrels. Neil served as the Principal Investigator of Swift until his death last year. Neil's vision and leadership helped make Swift one of NASA's most productive space observatories. Swift's prime mission is to find and localize Gamma-ray bursts, but it has been used as a general-purpose observatory to study ultraviolet, X-ray and Gamma-ray emission from comets, stars, galaxies, compact objects and hidden, supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies. It has recently played a key role in studying the "Golden Burst", a neutron star merger event which also generated detectable gravitational waves. In addition to his service to the Swift mission, Neil also played a major role in high-energy astrophysics, serving as the Project Scientist for the Compton Gamma-ray Observatory, Mission Scientist for INTEGRAL, Deputy Project Scientist of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, and Project Scientist for the upcoming WFIRST mission. Neil also served the astrophysics community as Chair of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society, Chair of the American Physical Society Division of Astrophysics, and Chief of the NASA Astroparticle Physics Laboratory at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Neil was an accomplished researcher, with over 790 science publications in the refereed astronomical literature. Neil's contributions to science were recognized by a number of awards, including the American Astronomical Society's Bruno Rossi Prize, which recognizes outstanding contributions to high energy astrophysics.
Published: January 29, 2018

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Monday, 05-Feb-2018 10:01:59 EST