Meet: Joe Jordan
I work at the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field near Mountain View, CA, and have been involved there with a variety of projects, ranging from in-flight data acquisition and management on the world's only airborne observatory (for infrared astronomy) to planning for the space station and a huge orbiting telescope to atmospheric modelling and mission flight support for the ongoing investigations of the problems of stratospheric ozone depletion and global climate change. (Winter 1988-89, I was in Norway and at the North Pole on the International Airborne Arctic Stratospheric Expedition.) My recent research involves the design efforts on SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy) and use of artificial-intelligence software to search for new types of infrared astronomical objects from satellite observation databases; the search for extrasolar planets; supernova shockwave calculations; and now (for SAIC) on instrument calibration and image analysis with the airborne sensor facility here.
My Career Path
I have built a 6-inch Newtonian reflector telescope and coordinated short expeditions for the U.S. Naval Observatory (to time occultations of stars by mountains on the edge of the moon). I've done an intensive geology field course (stratigraphy) in Wyoming and worked on farms there and in Virginia.
I teach occasional astronomy and "outdoor physics" classes for the Santa Cruz Natural History Museum (with stargazing in the nearby mountains), as well as for the California Academy of Sciences, the Lyceum of Santa Clara Valley, and other organizations around this region. I do a good bit of volunteer speaking in schools around Santa Cruz, and I have taught for a local community college (Cabrillo) and university (UCSC). One summer 15 years ago I was the Education and Curriculum Director for the original Computer Camp. I was a consultant on physical science content for the LifeLab (nationwide elementary-school science) curriculum. On radio station KUSP-FM in Santa Cruz, I contribute pieces for the "Field Notes" series and other programs about science, technology, public affairs, and everyday personal experiences of nature. I serve on the Public Works Commission for the City of Santa Cruz, and on the Board of Directors for Ecology Action of Santa Cruz County.