CU Professor Named To NASA Transition Team

Professor Jack O. Burns, Ph.D. Image Credit: Jack O. Burns

December 9, 2016 – CU Boulder Professor Jack Burns has been appointed to the NASA transition team by the incoming Trump administration.

Burns, a professor in the Department of Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences, has longstanding ties with NASA. He served on the NASA Advisory Council from 2008-10, including a stint as chair of the council’s Science Committee in 2009 and 2010.

Burns also directed the Lunar University Network for Astrophysics Research (LUNAR), a consortium of top research institutions funded by a $6.5 million NASA grant to conduct astrophysics from the moon, including the use of radio telescopes. He also is a fellow at CU Boulder’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy.

Burns currently is the principal investigator of a $250 million NASA Explorer Mission concept proposal called the “Dark Ages Radio Explorer” (DARE). DARE is designed to orbit the moon and look back in time by making observations of the early universe from above the moon’s far side, when it is shielded from Earth and the sun.

Burns, who currently serves as senior vice president of the American Astronomical Society, was vice president for Academic Affairs and Research for the CU system from 2001-05. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. In 2010 he received NASA’s Exceptional Public Service Medal.

The president-elect appoints a transition team, or landing party, during the campaign to ensure a smooth transfer of power following the presidential inauguration. Teams are generally formed for each federal department and agency to identify critical issues that need to be addressed by the new administration. They may also provide counsel on what they perceive as wasteful programs or expenses. The transition team generally works with the President elect until the inauguration, but may be asked to join the respective agency’s staff after that time.