Earth and Climate Scientist
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Bringing the “Wow! I Didn’t Know That!” of NASA Earth Science to both formal and informal education is Tom’s passion and privilege. Eternally curious, his mom taught him to stop and notice nature all around, revel in the birdsongs, and to be awed by the majesty of the sea. These early lessons have grown into a wild career of fascinating adventure.
Tom’s degree in Marine Biology and Oceanography presented him with the opportunity to train dolphins, conduct research on killer whales, spend many months at USC’s marine laboratory on Catalina Island and many more months on research cruises in French Polynesia, the Hawaiian Islands, the Aleutian Islands, and the waters off California and Mexico. He joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) 20 years ago because satellite oceanography revolutionized the science of El Nino and global climate science.
And only at an extraordinary place like JPL could this lead to yet another wonderful adventure, that of “Satellite Jockey.” Tom has commanded four instruments on multiple spacecraft, launched three instruments and, for a few years, he was the first person to download and see the images that came from the Opportunity Rover on Mars.
Tom is a member of the JPL Speakers Bureau and has participated in various events across the U.S.A. and has also lectured in Australia, Malaysia, French Polynesia and Morocco. He has three children and has lived in California, Alaska and New Mexico.