Dr. Winterhalter received a Ph.D. in Geophysics and Space Physics from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1987, and a Masters of Science in 1982. Also, he received a Masters of Arts in Physics from the University of California, Irvine in 1978, and a Bachelor of Arts in Physics from the California State University, Fullerton in 1974. In 1967, he received a "Facharbeiterbrief" in Elektromechanics from the "Industrie und Handelskammer" in Mannheim, Germany, after a 4-year apprenticeship at the Brown Boverie & Company. After the apprenticeship, and following a brief stint in England, he emigrated to the United States of America.
Dr. Winterhalter is employed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, since 1978. JPL is a NASA center for the robotic exploration of space. Winterhalter's primary function at JPL is that of a research scientist. His 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. He has published articles in refereed journals and edited two books on this subject. He regularly give presentations, both contributed and invited, detailing his research results at international conferences, and frequently serves as chairperson or convener at these meetings.
In 1995 Winterhalter organized and conducted the "The Eighth International Solar Wind Conference". The Solar Wind meetings are widely recognized as major international space science conferences. As the lead editor of the proceedings, he was primarily responsible for producing the 700-page volume. In 2001 he organized and conducted the "The Interaction of the Solar Wind with Mars: A comparison between Mars Global Surveyor and Phobos results." at the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in Bern, Switzerland. He is the lead editor of the special section of Space Science Reviews, and of an ISSI book, detailing the results of the workshop.
Most recently he has been interested in the low frequency radio emissions from the (presumed) magnetospheres of extrasolar planets, for which his team has carried out observations with the world's largest radio telescopes. They are presently evaluating the data for first time detection. In 2004 and 2005 he organized and conducted a series of international workshops "Search for low-frequency Radio Emissions from Extrasolar Planets".
As a member of several flight teams over the years, Dr. Winterhalter is and has been intimately involved with the planning, launching, and operating of complex spacecraft and space science missions. He has received the Achievement Awards for his participation on the Voyagers 1 & 2, Pioneer 11, and Mars Observer, Mars Global Surveyor, and Cassini interplanetary probes. In 1993 he received a NASA Special Recognition Certificate for his work on Mars Observer. Winterhalter is the Experiment Representative for the Mars Global Surveyor magnetometer team, and until recently was the Investigation Scientist for the Cassini Radio Science Experiment. He was the Study Scientist for the space science Mercury Orbiter effort in 1996, and is now the pre-Project Scientist for the new Mars Science and Telecom Orbiter (MSTO), which is planned for a 2011 or 2013 launch.
Also, he has been involved (primarily as proposal Principal or Co-Investigator) with the development and application of novel technologies to space science instrumentation and space missions. In 1993 he received a Certificate of Recognition for Technology Innovation for the invention and design of a science instrument (intended for the TIMED mission).
Dr. Winterhalter is a member of the American Geophysical Union, and served as a member of the AGU's Education Committee (1990 -1992), and as an associate editor for the Journal of Geophysical Research, Space Physics (1994-1996). He is also a member of the American Astronomical Society.