Dana Backman
Dana Backman

Principal Investigator, NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors Program

Disciplines: Education and Public Outreach

Degree/Major: Ph.D., Astrophysics, 1984, University of Hawai'i

Curriculum vitae: DBackman 1pg CV 2018May.docx


Native of Hartford, Connecticut. B.Sc. in physics from MIT, Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Hawai'i. Infrared astronomy post-doctoral researcher at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, and at NASA Ames Research Center. Professor of physics and astronomy for 12 years at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Employed by the SETI Institute as director of education and public outreach for NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) at NASA-Ames from 2003 to 2016. Principal Investigator of NASA's Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program. Has taught courses on introductory astronomy at Santa Clara University and on global climate change in Stanford University's Continuing Studies Program. Co-author with Michael Seeds of three college introductory astronomy textbooks: "Horizons", “Foundations”, and “ASTRO”.

Major Awards

 2014: NASA Group Achievement Awards, SOFIA Outreach Team

 2012: NASA Group Achievement Award,  SOFIA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors Pilot Program


1) D. Backman, C. Clark, & P. Harman 2018, "The Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors (AAA) Program and NASA Astrophysics Connections", Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 231, 131.05 (oral paper abstract)

2) D. Backman et al. 2009, “Epsilon Eridani's Planetary Debris Disk: Structure and Dynamics Based on Spitzer and                  Caltech Submillimeter Observatory Observations”, Astrophysical Journal 690, 1522

Related projects

NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors