Samuel Thornton Durrance
) is (at May 1996) a NASA
Durrance was born September 17
, 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
, 1972 and 1974, respectively, and a Doctor of Philosophy
degree in astrogeophysics at the University of Colorado at Boulder
, 1980. He now resides in Melbourne, FL where he goes to church at Faith Fellowship church
Dr. Durrance is a Principal Research Scientist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. He is a co-investigator for the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope, one of the instruments of the Astro Observatory.
He is a member of the American Astronomical Society, American Geophysical Union, International Astronomical Union, Association of Space Explorers, Planetary Society, and Phi Kappa Phi.
Dr. Durrance has been involved in the flight hardware
, 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 a cool brown dwarf
-- the first unambiguous detection. His research interests include the origin and evolution of the solar system
, the search for planets
around other stars
, and the origin of life
. He has published over 60 technical papers about spacecraft
operations, planetary astronomy, adaptive optics
, and nuclear physics
Dr. Durrance has logged over 615 hours in space as a member of the crew of Space Shuttle Columbia for the STS-35/Astro-1 and Space Shuttle Endeavour for the STS-67/Astro-2 missions.
Current Assignment (2007)
Dr. Durrance is located at the Florida Institute of Technology
in Melbourne, Florida, serving as a research professor.