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Harvey D Tananbaum

Center for Astrophysics
Senior Astrophysicist


I began my professional career at American Science & Engineering, Inc. in 1968 and moved to the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in 1973. In the 1970’s, I served as Project Scientist for the first satellite devoted to X-ray astronomy - UHURU, and as the Scientific Program Manager for the first X-ray telescope mission - the Einstein Observatory. In 1976, Riccardo Giacconi and I led the team which initiated the study and design of a large X-ray telescope that was launched 23 years later, in 1999, as the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. I served as Director of the Chandra X-Ray Center from its inception in 1991 through April, 2014. The Chandra X-ray Center is responsible for operating the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, for supporting the broad community of scientists who observe with Chandra, and for disseminating Chandra science results to the public. Since 2014, I have continued my involvement with Chandra and have been a member of the team studying its potential successor - the Lynx X-ray Observatory. I also served as Associate Director leading SAO's High Energy Astrophysics Division from 1980 to 1991. My contributions to Chandra were recognized via the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal in 1980, the NASA Public Service Award in 1988, and the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership in 2000. In 2005, I was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Yale University BA (1964); MIT PhD (1968)