Dr. Dana Backman

December 18, 2006

Dana Backman personifies the SETI Institute’s commitment to integrating science, education, and public outreach.  As an astronomer, he uses space and ground based telescopes, usually at infrared wavelengths, to gather evidence about how Earth-like planets form out of the protoplanetary disks of Sun-like stars.  “I am particularly interested in finding and examining in detail examples of planetary systems in late stages of formation, called debris disks,” he notes, “at ages of 10 to 100 million years, when the terrestrial planets in our solar system formed.”


As the lead of the Education and Public Outreach program for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), he is planning a program to recruit and train educators across the United States . SOFIA, a flying observatory, is a concept that will be naturally exciting and attractive to educators and students,” Backman explains.  “The program will place guest educators into close proximity with front-line research as it is really done, not the sanitized version in textbooks.”


- SETI Institute Explorer, Special Edition 2005


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