Phil Chamberlin ’01 currently serves as research astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and deputy project scientist for the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), launched in 2010 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
A leading expert in how solar flares affect technology at Earth and Mars, Chamberlin looks at the affects these solar eruptions have on satellite drag, Global Positioning System (GPS) and in causing power-grid blackouts. He has also worked on various aspects (design, build, test, launch, operations, science analysis) of five current and future NASA and NOAA satellites and seven NASA sounding rockets.
Additionally, Chamberlin leads new, early-stage technological innovations for future spaceflight missions that will study the sources of violent solar eruptions of solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs).
His significant contributions to science include improving the higher-order correction technique for UV spectrographs in 2003; releasing the first version of the Flare Irradiance Spectral Model (FISM) in 2005; and leading a sounding rocket to measure the definitive solar minimum EUV irradiance reference spectrum in 2009.
Chamberlin began his career as a research scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2005 after earning his master’s and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering from that institution. He joined NASA in 2009.
In community service, he participates, almost weekly in outreach activities to encourage K-12 students to get excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and pursue careers in the future. These include speaking to students and teaching classes at their schools, judging science fairs, giving public lectures to the community and providing advice for student science fair projects. Chamberlin also takes advantage of emerging resources, such as the Distance Learning Network (DLN), Skype, and Google Hangouts in order to reach out to larger groups of students anywhere in the U.S.
At Hanover, he majored in physics, played football and was a member of Phi Delta Theta.
The Distinguished Young Alumni Awards are given to Hanoverians under the age of forty who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement, civic leadership, or service to Hanover College. The Awards are conferred at the spring Alumni Awards Brunch.