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Two NASA Goddard Fermi Scientists Win Lindsay Award

image of Julie Mc Enery
Dr. Julie McEnery. Credit: NASA

image of Dr. David Thompson
Dr. David Thompson. Credit: NASA

Artist's concept of GLAST spacecraft. The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (formerly called GLAST). Credit: NASA
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Two scientists on the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope mission employed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. were recipients of the 45th Annual John C. Lindsay Memorial Award last week. The award was bestowed upon Dr Julie McEnery and Dr. David Thompson.

Dr. Nicholas White, Director, Sciences & Exploration Directorate at NASA Goddard was the emcee of the award ceremony on October 8 on the campus. White said, "The scientific leadership of both Julie and Dave were key to pulling off this very challenging mission and I am extremely pleased to see this recognized with Goddard’s highest award."

The John C. Lindsay Memorial Award for Space Science is an annual award, and is the highest Space Science Award that Goddard bestows. It is named in honor of Dr. John C. Lindsay, who joined NASA Goddard on Dec. 28, 1958 and pioneered in the exploration of the Sun by both satellite and rocket borne experiments. He served as Associate Chief of the Space Sciences Division and headed the Goddard Solar Physics Program. Dr. Lindsay also conceived and directed the Orbiting Solar Observatory Project and was the manager of several Explorer and Pioneer Missions.

The Lindsay award is presented to employees who best exhibit the qualities of broad scientific accomplishments in the area of Space Science. The award commemorates the launch of the first Orbiting Solar Observatory on March 7, 1962, which was a great accomplishment of Dr. Lindsay’s and those who worked with him.

Both Julie McEnery and David Thompson were recognized for two years of discovery with the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Both McEnery and Thompson noted that they accepted the award on behalf of the many scientists and engineers from various organizations around the world who worked on Fermi. Fermi was originally named GLAST at time of launch, and the name was later changed in honor of Enrico Fermi, once the spacecraft was in orbit.

Gamma rays, the most energetic photons, help explore some of the most extreme phenomena in the Universe. In its more than two years of operation, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has surveyed the entire sky approximately 8 times per day, producing a wide range of discoveries in two general areas:
  • The persistent gamma-ray sky, characterized by source catalogs, offers the opportunity to find and study sources such as pulsars, blazars, and binary systems.
  • The transient gamma-ray sky captures information about sources and a nova, lasting a fraction of a second to nearly a month but then fading away.
Julie McEnery is the Fermi Project Scientist and an astrophysicist in the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory at Goddard Space Flight Center. Julie has spent her career working in high-energy gamma-ray and cosmic-ray astrophysics. She has served as the analysis coordinator for the Fermi Large Area Telescope and is responsible for coordinating gamma-ray burst operations across the Fermi mission. In addition to working on Fermi she continues her involvement in the ground-based gamma-ray observatories Whipple, VERITAS, Milagro and HAWC. An Irish citizen, Julie received her BSc in Physics with Astrophysics from the University of Manchester and her Ph.D. in Physics from University College Dublin. Her science interests center on active galaxies and Gamma-Ray Bursts, but she also explores interesting topics in other areas. Julie is a resident of College Park, Md.

"It is a pleasure to receive a Lindsay award marking the science return from the first two years of Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, and is exciting to think that we are less than half way through the mission and have many more exciting discoveries ahead of us," McEnery said.

David J. Thompson is a Goddard astrophysicist who has worked on three satellites studying the gamma-ray sky: SAS-2, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, and the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. He is currently a Deputy Project Scientist for the Fermi project, the Multiwavelength Coordinator for the Fermi Large Area Telescope, and a co-lead of the Catalog Science Group for that instrument. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. In addition to the satellites, he helped lead studies with balloon-borne prototypes of instruments for all three missions. His particular scientific interests are gamma-ray pulsars and blazars. David is a resident of Bowie, Md.

Thompson commented, "Having the Fermi gamma-ray astronomy results recognized with the Lindsay Award is particularly gratifying, since the first map of the gamma-ray sky came from an instrument on OSO-3, one of Dr. Lindsay’s projects."

For more information about the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, visit:
For more information about Dr. Julie McEnery, visit:
For more information about Dr. David Thompson, visit:

Goddard Release No. 10-93

Lynn Chandler
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.