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Dr. Steve B. Howell

Senior Research Scientist

Affiliation: NASA Ames Research Center


Phone: 650-604-4238

Read Steve Howell‘s interview

Professional Biography

Dr. Steve B. Howell is currently a senior research scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. He was formerly the head of the Space Science and Astrobiology Division and the project scientist for NASA’s premier exoplanet finding missions: Kepler and K2.

Steve received his PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Amsterdam and has worked in many aspects of astronomy including pioneering the use of charge-coupled devices (CCDs) in astronomy, building new technology instruments for ground and space-based telescopes, university teaching and research, and public outreach and education. Dr. Howell has written over 800 scientific publications, numerous popular and technical articles, and has authored and edited ten books on astronomy and astronomical instrumentation. Howell has edited and written two science fiction books related to exoplanets and space travel. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his partner Sally and enjoys scientific challenges, the great outdoors, vegetarian gourmet cooking, and playing blues music. And yes, he still considers Pluto to be a planet.

Howell is also involved in informal and formal scientific education for kids to adults including his participation in SuperChefs, a non-profit organization teaching food science and healthy eating to young adults. Combining the latest scientific discoveries about exoplanets, fundamental physics principles, and modern food chemistry, Steve and collaborator Bill Yosses (former White House chef) have developed a series of educational and highly entertaining scientific and public outreach presentations on the physics of food and healthy eating as well as incorporating them into the classes at the Harvard cooking school and the Los Angeles Unified School District. In early 2020, Steve and Grammy award winning musician Henri Scars Struck debuted their exoplanet-related music installation, Beyond Me, in New York City.


Ph.D. Astrophysics, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

M.Sc. Physics, University of Toledo

M.Sc. Astronomy, Penn State University

B.Sc. Mount Union College, Ohio

Research Interests

Astronomical instrumentation, Imaging, Detectors, Exoplanets, Variable Stars, Photometry, Stellar Evolution, Space Missions