Goddard Scientist Elected into National Academy of Sciences
GREENBELT, Md. -- Dr. Neil Gehrels, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, has been elected into the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), an honor considered to be one of the highest awarded to scientists and engineers.

The honor, which also yielded 71 other newly elected members, was announced recently at the 147th annual meeting of the Academy.

Dr. Gehrels pioneering research and contributions to gamma ray astronomy and leadership of the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory and Swift missions to study active galaxies and gamma-ray bursts have earned him the prestigious honor. He joins Dr. John Mather and Dr. James Hansen as the current NASA scientists in the NAS.

"I had a phone call from Prof. John Huchra from Harvard with the news” said Gehrels. “ I was driving to work and pulled over. It was a wonderful surprise."

The NAS is a private, nonprofit organization consisting of an honorific society of distinguished scientists and engineers. Signed into being by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, NAS is dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and has served to “investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art" whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government.

"It has been an adventure learning about the gamma-ray sky, “ Gehrels added. “There were new surprises every day in data from CGRO and continuing now with Swift. It is my greatest pleasure working with the expert teams at NASA and in the universities on these discovery missions."

For more information about the National Academy of Sciences, visit:

Goddard Release No. 10-039

Rob Gutro / Christina Coleman
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
301-286-4044 / 301-286-1046 /