Director of Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research
Aerospace Engineering Sciences
University of Colorado at Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0431
Office: ECNT 316
Phone: (303) 492-1764
University of Colorado, Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department, Boulder, CO (Professor, 2012-Present)
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder CO (Visiting Scientist, 2011-2013)
University of Colorado, Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department, Boulder, CO (Associate Professor, tenured, 2009-2012)
University of Colorado, Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department, Boulder, CO (Associate Professor, tenure-track, 2004-2009)
SRI International, Menlo Park, CA (Senior Research Physicist, 1995-2004)
SRI International, Menlo Park, CA (Research Physicist, 1990-1994)
University of Michigan (Research Associate, 1984-1990)
2012 – College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research
2012– Roubos Engineering Endowed Faculty Fellowship
2011– College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching
2010 – University of Colorado Provost’s Faculty Achievement Award
2005 – University of Michigan Alumni Merit Award
2005 – NASA Group Achievement Award
2004 – SRI Presidential Achievement Award.
Dr. Thayer is a Professor in the Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is the Director of the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research. The center engages 15 faculty, 17 research professionals, 72 graduate students and 18 undergraduates researching the fields of astrodynamics, space and earth science, guidance and navigation satellite systems, and remote sensing, with more than 130 PhD graduates. Prof. Thayer has over 22 years of experience leading research in the near-space environment, advancing remote sensing technologies, developing strategic plans for NASA and NSF, and publishing over 80 journal articles. He specializes in geophysical fluid dynamics, gas and plasma interactions, thermodynamics, and electrodynamics applied to the near-space environment. These studies combine ground and space-based observations, along with theory and modeling, to advance our understanding of the near-space environment and its impact on space assets. In his past eight years as a professor at the University of Colorado he has been PI of 12 projects and Co-I of 4 projects. He has supervised 10 PhD students, 5 Masters students, two post-doctoral students, and numerous undergraduates. Prior to arriving at CU, Prof. Thayer was PI and Co-I of numerous projects as a research physicist at SRI International, most notably PI of a US national observatory in Greenland – The Sondrestrom Upper Atmosphere Research Facility. This program was funded by the NSF with an annual budget of over two million dollars. As director of the facility, he was responsible for science productivity, managing 6 PhD scientists and numerous technical staff, staffing the site with five crew members, interacting with international entities, and insuring proper operations, maintenance, and upgrades to the research facility that housed over 20 research instruments from many institutions.
Prof. Thayer is a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, American Geophysical Union, and Optical Society of America. He was recently the Chair of the NSF Coupling of Energetics, Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions (CEDAR) program for the Atmosphere and Geospace Science Division. During his term, a new strategic planning document for the CEDAR program was published serving as the reference document for the next 10 years of the program. Prof. Thayer also recently served on the National Academy of Science’s subcommittee on atmosphere-ionosphere-magnetosphere research for their Space Science Decadal Survey Report. Prof. Thayer is a participating panelist on a Congressional Caucus on Space Technology in Jan, 2013 sponsored by the American Chemical Society and the American Geophysical Union and partnered with the Senate Space and Technology Caucus. Prof. Thayer is a member of the NCAR High Altitude Observatory external advisory committee. Prof. Thayer regularly serves on NSF and NASA panels, and reviews manuscripts from professional journals, including Journal of Geophysical Research, Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Atmospheric and Space Physics, and Applied Optics.