About Paul Gazis
Paul Gazis’ interest in science began at a very young age. By the time he reached high school, he’d decided on physics as a career in the belief this could explain how the universe works. Things may not be quite that simple -- while physics might tell you how a microprocessor operates, it won’t tell you what code will be running on that processor -- but it can explain many Useful Things. He attended Caltech as an undergrad, where he was fortunate enough to take a few courses from Feynman, and continued on to receive his PhD at MIT, where he was fortunate enough to join the Voyager project at the Center for Space Research.
Armed with his newly minted PhD in space physics, he went to NASA’s Ames Research Center, to use analysis techniques he’d developed for the Voyager mission on data from the Pioneer 10/11 and Pioneer Venus Orbiter spacecraft. After a spell at MIT Lincoln Labs developing laser radars for the Air Force, he returned to NASA, comparing data from multiple sensors and spacecraft to study the solar wind, interplanetary magnetic field, energetic charged particles, and cosmic rays in the outer reaches of the solar system, chairing sessions at international workshops, and authoring over 50 scientific papers. After the Pioneer project ended, he branched out into the study of distant galaxies, autonomous data analysis for Mars rovers, exoplanet detection, and even a bit of cognitive science.
At last, determined to broaden his horizons, he left NASA for industry. This proved very bit as rewarding. A brief stint of consulting work was followed by a long career adapting algorithms he’d developed at NASA and Air Force labs for use with medical research instruments. Along the way, he was fortunate enough to have a chance to make a small but meaningful contribution to the COVID vaccine development effort.
Paul Gazis’ interests extend well beyond science. As a student, he raced in major international championships, rebuilt English sports cars, sailed in a tropical storm, fought with medieval weapons, and helped pay his way through grad school by making armor. Since then, he’s climbed past 17,000' in high desert thermals, been expert witness in court cases, ridden Italian motorcycles on the California coast, served as a regional director of the US Hang Gliding and Paragliding association, dodged escaping emus (you had to be there), assisted helicopter rescues, hiked in the Alps, visited the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen, walked on five continents, watched the sun rise and set over most of the world’s oceans, and flown hang gliders in the US, Europe, and Australia. Somewhere along the way, he also began writing, to turn some of this experience into tales.