March 31, 2016
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Reception at 6:30 pm outside Keck Hall
Director, Rice Space Institute
Professor, Physics & Astronomy
Space has typically been regarded as a destination with efforts focused predominantly on placing assets in orbit, either to provide services (e.g. entertainment, navigation, telecommunications) or to explore space itself (e.g. Mars rovers, International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope). However, in recent years, we have witnessed a gradual transition from large-scale, government-led exploration to a more versatile and agile approach as private enterprises become increasingly involved. The dynamics of space exploration are rapidly changing with the promise of easy and routine access becoming a reality, opening up the space frontier to any and all. There is also increasing discussion on how to utilize space for the benefit of life on Earth in the form of driving economic growth, facilitating social engagement and providing humanitarian support. Across the state of Texas there is a wealth of activity in each of these areas. Dr. Alexander will survey the space landscape in the state and discuss how Texas can take advantage of this new age of space access.
David Alexander is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, where his primary area of research is solar physics. He also serves as the Director of the Rice Space Institute following his appointment to this position in March 2012.
Dr. Alexander received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2004 and was appointed a Kavli Frontiers Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences in 2006. He is author of “The Sun” part of the Greenwood Press “Guide to the Universe” Series. He is a past chair of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomy Society and of the Solar, Heliospheric and Interplanetary Environment (SHINE) program. He has served on many national and professional committees including the NASA Advisory Council’s Heliophysics Subcommittee and the Science Advisory Board of the High Altitude Observatory Coronal Solar Magnetism Observatory. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of SpaceCom, the editorial board of ROOM: The Space Journal, on the external advisory board of the University of Houston’s Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and works closely with the Houston Spaceport at Ellington field.
Dr. Alexander joined the faculty at Rice in 2003, coming from the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, California where he was a Staff Physicist working on the development of advanced space missions for solar and space physics. He is currently a member of the Rice Faculty Senate.