Dr. Robert Cassanova
Original NIAC Founder, Director, and NEC Chair
On March14, 2013, Bob Cassanova retired as the NEC Chair. He is the original NIAC Founder and Director, and the first NEC Chair for NASA. Dr. Cassanova is currently a consultant to private research organizations and government agencies. He was the Director of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) located in Atlanta, Georgia from February 1998 to August 2007. The NIAC was focused on the development of revolutionary, advanced systems and architectures in the fields of aeronautics and space. The NIAC was an independent institute sponsored by NASA and contracted through the Universities Space Research Association. Dr. Cassanova coordinated the operation of NIAC at the highest levels of NASA HQ and the NASA Centers. He is the recipient of the NASA Public Service Medal for exceptional contributions to the Mission of NASA. The NIAC team, including members from USRA, ANSER Corporation and NASA received the NASA Group Achievement Award. Dr. Cassanova expanded on the synergisms of art and science to build a highly acclaimed organization that encourages visionary investigators to explore revolutionary concepts stretching the possibilities of future scientific breakthroughs. Prior to becoming the Director of NIAC, Dr. Cassanova was Director of the Aerospace and Transportation Laboratory in the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). While in GTRI and in the School of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech, he performed research in biofluid mechanics, solar thermal energy, acoustics, combustion and rarefied gas dynamics. He career also includes research in rocket plume testing and high altitude hypersonic flight at the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He remains a dedicated creator of black and white photographic images on silver gelatin paper produced in a conventional, wet chemical darkroom. Dr. Cassanova has a serious passion for photography and integrates the visualization process for science and art into his lectures on revolutionary creativity.
His photography has been exhibited in the American Center for Physics, Ridderhoff-Martin Gallery, Annie D. Boykin Gallery, Hobson Pittman Memorial Gallery and the American Embassy in Lima, Peru. A sampling of his photographs can be viewed on the website: http://www.robertcassanova.com.