Dr. Stephen Pompea

Fellow Member | Observatory Scientist at NSF NOIRLab
Pompea, Stephen
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SPIE Membership: 27.7 years
SPIE Awards: Fellow status | 2018 Maria J. Yzuel Educator Award | 2013 Outreach Grant
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Area of Expertise: Optics and Photonics Education, Analysis of Optical Systems, Optical Engineering Education, Optical Materials
Websites: Company Website
ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6009-0998
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Profile Summary

Stephen Pompea was named as the first Observatory Scientist for the U.S. National Astronomy Observatory, NSF NOIRLab, in 2014 and obtained emeritus status in 2020.

He developed space instruments and led the development group for new optical materials for Martin Marietta Denver Aerospace. He is the lead author for the chapter on black surfaces in the Handbook of Optics and has consulted widely in this area. He served as instrument scientist for the NASA NICMOS instrument for the Hubble Space Telescope at the University of Arizona, and as infrared instrument scientist for Gemini 8-meter telescopes project.

He did his undergraduate work in physics, space physics, and astronomy at Rice University, his Master’s work in physics teaching at Colorado State University, and his Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of Arizona.

He has been PI or Co-I on many national science education projects in the areas of instructional materials development, public programs, informal science education, teacher and student research, and teacher professional development. In 2011 Dr. Pompea was awarded the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal from the Optical Society of America for his contributions to optical sciences education and especially for his work in creating the Galileoscope student telescope kit. He is a Fellow of SPIE and the Optical Society of America. He is also the recent recipient of the Robert A. Millikan Medal from the American Association of Physics Teachers.

He is the author, coauthor, or editor of 15 books, over 150 papers, and has given over 400 presentations at professional conferences. Pompea is an adjunct faculty member of the University of Arizona with previous adjunct appointments at Colorado State University and the University of Arkansas. He is currently a Visiting Professor at Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands.

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