Roger Brissenden Biography

Dr. Roger Brissenden is the Deputy Director of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA), a partnership between the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). He also serves as Manager of the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC), one of NASA's great observatories that enables scientists from around the world to obtain X-ray images to reveal the structure and evolution of the universe. His 30 years of experience leading and advising major space missions has made possible significant astronomical discoveries and fueled groundbreaking science, unlocking the mysteries of the universe for scientists and curious learners across the globe.

As CfA Deputy Director, Brissenden provides strategic operational leadership for a staff of more than 600, including 300 research scientists, and oversees a budget of $135 million, providing leadership in CfA mission planning, project and proposal development, and financial and administrative support. He also coordinates the Center's facilities, including ground-based telescopes in Arizona, Hawaii, and Chile that observe across the electromagnetic spectrum. To support the CfA's broad and complex mission, he has built strong working relationships between the Smithsonian and Harvard, and between the CfA and its major partners including NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and many other universities, research centers, and government contractors.

As the CXC manager, Brissenden oversees the science and mission operations of NASA's flagship X-ray telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched on the Space Shuttle in 1999. He manages the development and continued operation of the CXC's Science Center and Operations Control Center, and served as lead Chandra flight director for over a decade.

Brissenden is an Associate of the Harvard College Observatory, a member of the American Astronomical Society, and is Chair or member of a number of committees and Boards that oversee the development and operation of present and future ground and space-based astronomy telescopes. He has published more than 100 papers and articles in scientific and technical journals, and his science interests focus on the broad-band spectral energy distributions of extra-galactic X-ray sources. Among awards he has received are NASA's highest honor, the Distinguished Public Service Medal, the "Silver Snoopy" the personal award that Space Shuttle crews present for significant contributions to mission safety, and the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics with the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. Brissenden earned a BSc (First Class Honors) in Physics from the University of Adelaide (1985) and a PhD in Astronomy from the Australian National University (1990).


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