Dr. Eric Smith, Class of 1978, was inducted for his Outstanding Achievement in his chosen profession. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in physics and astronomy from the University of Virginia and a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Dr. Smith has recently been named the new program director for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope at NASA Headquarters in Washington. In June 2013, he served as acting director of the Telescope Program overseeing a period of significant progress, including the successful completion and delivery of science instruments and their testing as an integrated module. This will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. It will observe the most distant objects in the universe, provide images of the first generation of galaxies and see unexplored planets around distant stars.
Prior to becoming the acting director, he was chosen to be the deputy program director in 2010 when the program was restructured at NASA Headquarters. Smith came to NASA Headquarters in 2001 to serve as the program scientist. In addition to his role as program scientist he was the NASA Hubble Space Telescope program scientist during several periods from 2001 to 2010 when he also was responsible for overseeing the NASA Astrophysics portfolio for infrared and sub-millimeter research.
Before coming to NASA Headquarters, Smith worked at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, as a member of the science team for the space shuttle borne Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope. Smith’s research over the years includes active and interacting galaxies and the stellar composition of those systems.
Dr. Smith’s contribution to the Hubble missions has provided scientific and photographic information that permeates science textbooks, enriching the science curriculum throughout the K-12 school system. He sets an incredible example for the students of East Pennsboro Area School District. We would like to congratulate Dr. Eric Smith on all of his achievements and welcome him into the Panther Alumni Wall of Honor.