A New Era for Green Bank Observatory, Dr. James M. Jackson Named Director

Dr. James M. Jackson pictured with the Green Bank Telescope, photographed on a trip in 2017.

The Green Bank Observatory (GBO) enters a new era of leadership in October. Dr. James M. Jackson, an internationally known astrophysicist, has accepted the role of director. 

After serving as director for 15 years, Dr. Karen O’Neil will join the scientific staff. O’Neil has led the Observatory since 2006, including overseeing the separation from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and the successful transition to Green Bank Observatory in 2016. She looks forward to being a longstanding member of the Observatory staff and being a vital part of its continued growth. 

Jackson has served most recently as Associate Director for Research for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) with the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). Jackson has also led administration and research in astronomy and astrophysics for the University of Newcastle (Australia) and Boston University, and served as Assistant Director for the Center for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica. He has co-authored 148 journal articles, with over 12,000 total citations.

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), which owns the Observatory, worked closely with O’Neil throughout her tenure. Harshal Gupta, Program Director at NSF’s Division of Astronomical Sciences shared, “On behalf of NSF, I would like to thank Dr. O’Neil for her long and dedicated service as director of Green Bank Observatory. We look forward to working with Dr. Jackson as he assumes this critical role for the Observatory.”

Jackson is expected to begin his work onsite in mid-October. A frequent user of the Green Bank Telescope (GBT), he is very familiar with the site’s staff and resources. He recognizes the Observatory’s role as an essential facility in the nation’s astrophysics portfolio, “I congratulate the Observatory in providing pre-eminent capabilities to the radio astronomy community and in producing world-class science. I am keen to serve GBO and our research community, to continue to grow these resources, and to secure a stable and productive future.”

The Green Bank Observatory is a major facility of the National Science Foundation and is operated by Associated Universities, Inc.

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Contacts:

Jill Malusky, Green Bank Observatory Public Relations, jmalusky@nrao.edu