FLORENCE, S.C. – John Mattox, associate professor of physics and astronomy at Francis Marion University and director of the university’s planetarium and observatory, recently accepted a fellowship through the NASA Faculty Fellowship Program at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Since 1964, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has supported a program offering full-time engineering and science educators at U.S. colleges and universities the opportunity to participate in NASA ongoing research efforts. Beginning this summer, the new NASA Faculty Fellowship Program (NFFP) is being initiated to offer science and engineering faculty hands-on exposure to NASA's research challenges through 10-week summer research residencies and extended research opportunities at participating NASA research centers. Participants will work closely with NASA colleagues on challenges important to that organization's strategic enterprises.
The NFFP is jointly managed by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), and combines aspects of two successful and long-running NASA programs: the NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship Program and the NASA/USRA JOVE program.
In addition to providing an opportunity for faculty to participate in NASA research efforts, this program is also intended to enable participating faculty to bring the excitement of NASA research efforts back to their educational institutions.
Mattox is already at the Goddard Space Flight Center and will work there through Aug. 2. Mattox previously worked at Goddard from 1989 to 1991 as an NRC Research Associate.
The South Dakota native also participated in a pair of professional meetings earlier this spring.
He took part in a May meeting of the board of directors of the Robotically Controlled Telescope (RCT) Consortium in Tucson, Ariz. FMU is a member of this consortium, along with Western Kentucky University, the Planetary Science Institute, Villanova University, and South Carolina State University. The consortium controls the 1.3-meter telescope on Kitt Peak in Arizona. Mattox uses his alloted time to study gamma-ray bursts.
Later, Mattox traveled to Milan, Italy, to participate in a workshop titled "Perspectives of AGN Studies with AGILE." AGILE is a gamma-ray mission approved by the Italian Space Agency, that has as its main scientific goals the study of active galactic nuclei, gamma-ray bursts, pulsars, diffuse gamma-ray emission and cosmic ray production and propagation in the galaxy, and the study of quantum gravity effects on photon propagation.
His presentation was titled "Prospects for Western Hemisphere Optical Monitoring of Blazars during the AGILE Mission."
Prior to joining the Francis Marion staff in 2000, Mattox taught at Boston University. He earned the B.S. degree in physics from the University of Florida, and both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in applied physics from Stanford University.