Published: July 21, 2021

CU Boulder Professor Jack O. Burns has longstanding ties to NASA, deep experience in space research

Jack O. Burns, a professor of astrophysics and professor of physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, has been elected to the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), the group has announced. 

Membership in the exclusive organization requires election by academy peers. IAA members have distinguished themselves in either a field of astronautics or a branch of science the supports the exploration of space in their own countries.

Burns is the director and principal investigator of the NASA-funded Network for Exploration and Space Science. He has longstanding ties with NASA and served on the NASA Advisory Council from 2008-10, chair of the council’s science committee from 2009-10, and as a member of the 2016-17 Presidential NASA transition team. 

Jack O. Burns

Jack O. Burns

NASA recognized his contributions with an Exceptional Public Service medal. He has also been elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the American Astronomical Society. 

In addition to serving as professor, Burns is vice president emeritus for academic affairs and research for the CU system. His research focuses on extragalactic astronomy (astronomy outside of the Milky Way) and cosmology, and the development of radio telescopes for the far side of the Moon.

The IAA was founded in Stockholm in 1960. The academy’s beginning was led by Theodore von Karman, one of the most important figures in the evolution of rocketry. Elected members of the IAA have included Werner von Braun, Hermann Oberth, James Van Allen, and Yuri Gagarin.

The IAA is an independent organization of distinguished individuals elected by their peers for their outstanding contributions to astronautics and the exploration of space. It is an independent non-governmental organization recognized by the United Nations in 1996. IAA members are from over 88 countries around the world.

The IAA encourages international scientific cooperation in the areas of space sciences, space life sciences, space technology, space policy, and space and society. It seeks to provide direction and guidance in the non-military uses of space and the ongoing exploration of the solar system.