Meet: Daniel Winterhalter
Space Plasma Physicist
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
What I do
I have worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for
more than 20 years now and thoroughly enjoy what I do. Currently, I am involved
in three different activities that call for me to be a research scientist, a science
experiment representative and an instrument designer.
As a research scientist, my present research interests
include the spatial evolution of the solar wind into the outer reaches of the
heliosphere, as well as its interaction with, and influence on, planetary environments.
As a member of the Mars Global Surveyor Magnetometer team, I am particularly interested
in how the solar wind interacts with Mars, as well as in Mars' internal magnetic
I am a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and
served on the Education Committee. I was also an associate editor for the AGU's
"Journal of Geophysics."
In my role as a science experiment representative, I represent
the Mars Global Surveyor Magnetometer team by serving as the interface between
the project and the science team members. I perform a similar function as the
investigation scientist for the Cassini Radio Science Team (mission to Saturn).
As a member of several spaceflight teams over the years,
I have been deeply involved with the planning, launching and operating of complex
spacecraft and space science missions. I have received NASA Achievement Awards
for my participation on the Voyagers 1 & 2, Pioneer 11 and Mars Observer interplanetary
probes. I have also received a NASA Special Recognition Certificate for my work
on Mars Observer.
In order to realize faster and better science returns from
space missions, I have been involved as an instrument designer with the development
and application of novel technologies to space science instrumentation and space
missions (e.g., Solar Sail Mission to Mercury).
I have more or less gone the traditional route for a college
education by first going to a community college and getting an Associate of Arts
degree in 1971. From there I went on to the California State University in Fullerton
and received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics in 1974 and then my M.A. degree
in Physics from the University of California, Irvine in 1978.
My fascination with physics, and science in general, drove
me to pursue a higher education. I earned an M.S. degree in Geophysics and Space
Physics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1982 and finally my
Ph.D. from UCLA in the same subject in 1987.
I am married and my wife Muriel and I have a nine-year-old
son Tristan. Soccer is the biggest thing in Tristan's life right now, so as a
family, we spend a lot of time on the soccer field!
Some of my other favorite activities are sailing off the
coast of Southern California, running marathons, working on our house, cooking
and anything that involves Tristan!
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