Gerard A. Kriss

Biographical Sketch


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Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dr. Kriss developed an interest in amateur astronomy in junior high school. While an undergraduate in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he became professionally interested in astronomy through research with a group flying high energy X-ray detectors on high altitude balloons. His work in graduate school at MIT branched out into other wavelengths as he made optical observations of quasars and active galaxies in support of the newly launched Einstein X-ray Observatory. He earned his Ph.D. in 1982 under the supervision of Claude R. Canizares with a thesis entitled "X-ray and Optical Studies of Active Galactic Nuclei and Quasi-stellar Objects". Moving on to the University of Michigan as an Assistant Professor/Post-doctoral Scholar, Dr. Kriss studied the mass and dynamics of clusters of galaxies using X-ray images from the Einstein Observatory and optical spectra and photometry obtained at the McGraw-Hill Observatory of the University of Michigan. While at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Kriss was the project scientist for the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope, which flew on the space shuttle in 1990 and 1995, and he led the development of the data processing system for the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer. In 1998 he moved to the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. After serving as the team lead for the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) and then as the Lead Instrument Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, he became the head of the Instruments Division (INS) in February 2007, which is the home for all the HST and JWST instrument support teams. He is currently the team lead for the Near Infra-red Camera (NIRCam) on JWST. Dr. Kriss's research concentrates on observations of quasars and active galaxies, at all wavelengths from the X-ray through the radio, and investigations of the structure and composition of the intergalactic medium.

Dr. Kriss and his wife, Andrea, live in Lutherville, MD, with their three children, Jonathan, Katharine and Alexander.

Last updated December 2012.

Gerard Kriss (gak@stsci.edu)