By Janet Anderson
Marshall Space Flight Center
HUNTSVILLE, AL – Dr. Chryssa Kouveliotou has been named senior scientist for high energy astrophysics within the Science and Technology Office at NASAs Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. She assumed the position in January.
Kouveliotou, a NASA astrophysicist since 2004 and longtime collaborator with NASAs science mission, has been the principal investigator on numerous research projects in the United States and Europe. She is currently a coinvestigator on the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor, an instrument flying aboard the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope; a Swift associated scientist and a member of a NuSTAR Science Team, researching topics important to science. Throughout her career, she has worked on multiple missions, including the International Sun Earth Explorer-3, the Solar Maximum Mission and the Burst and Transient Source Experiment (BATSE), which flew on NASAs Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory.
Kouveliotou has made numerous contributions to the fields of astronomy and astrophysics. Her research has expanded scientific understanding of fleeting — transient phenomena in the Milky Way galaxy and throughout the high-energy universe. Besides determining the unique properties of the highly energetic emissions from gamma-ray bursts — the brightest and most powerful events in the universe — Kouveliotou was part of the team which first revealed the extragalactic nature of these sources. She and her team made the first confirmed detection of ultra-dense neutron stars called magnetars — the cinders of stars left over after a supernova — which have incredibly powerful magnetic fields.
A native of Athens, Greece, Kouveliotou received her doctorate in 1981 from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. She earned her master’s degree in science from the University of Sussex, England, in 1977, and her bachelor’s degree in physics from the National University of Athens, Greece, in 1975.
She has received many awards for her work, including the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 2012. Also in 2012, she was named among Time Magazines 25 most influential people in space. In 2005, Kouveliotou received the NASA Space Act Award, which recognizes and rewards outstanding scientific or technical contributions which are significant to NASAs mission. In 2003, she was honored with the Rossi Prize — awarded annually by the High Energy Astrophysics division of the American Astronomical Society for a significant contribution to high-energy astrophysics. In 2002, she received the Descartes Prize, which recognizes scientific breakthroughs from European collaborative research in any scientific field. She has published 382 papers in refereed journals and has been among the top 10 most-cited space science researchers in published journals worldwide.
Kouveliotou is a member of multiple international advisory committees, boards and review panels.
She was elected chair of the Division of Astrophysics of the American Physical Society and is a member of the Council of the American Astronomical Society. She is chair of that organizations High Energy Astrophysics Division. She is a past member of the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics of the National Academy of Sciences and is currently the U.S./International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) liaison for the Astrophysics Committee. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.