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 JPL's Science Division: People
William  Langer's Picture
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William Langer
Senior Research Scientist

Dr. William D. Langer received his Ph.D. in Physics from Yale University. After leaving Yale, he continued his research in nuclear astrophysics as a Postdoctoral Associate at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, followed by a year as an NSF-NATO Fellow at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen. Dr. Langer then spent several years on the faculties of New York University and the University of Pennsylvania where he taught physics and astronomy and continued his research in astrophysics. Originally a theorist, he broadened his experience to work in observational radio astronomy at AT&T's Bell Laboratories, where he was a visiting astronomer. He came to JPL in 1991 from Princeton University's Plasma Physics Laboratory.

Over the years his research interests have spanned a wide range of theoretical and observational studies including neutron stars, solid state physics, fusion plasmas, Galactic structure, the formation of stars, and the chemical evolution of stars and planetary disks. He is a former Manager of the Science Division and was the Project Scientist for the Herschel Space Observatory in its formative years. Dr. Langer is author, or co-author, of over 180 peer-reviewed research papers, numerous invited review talks, a book on atomic processes, and editor of conference proceedings. Currently he is PI on a Herschel Space Observatory Open Time Key Program, Galactic Observations of Terahertz C+ (GOT C+), and several Open Time programs to study the structure and evolution of Galactic gas via observations of the far-infrared fine structure emission line of ionized carbon. In 2014 he received NASA's Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for his research studying the properties of the interstellar medium with observations from the Herschel Space Observatory.


Education
  • B.S., Physics, New York University (1964)
  • M.S., Physics, Yale University (1965)
  • Ph.D., Physics, Yale University (1968)

Research Interests
  • Galactic structure and dynamics
  • The structure and dynamics of the interstellar medium
  • Star formation processes
  • Properties of protostellar cores and protoplanetary disks

Projects

Herschel Icon Herschel
The Herschel Space Observatory is a space-based telescope that studies the Universe in the light of the far-infrared and submillimeter portions of the spectrum.


Professional Experience
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1991 - Present)
    • Senior Research Scientist (1997 - Present)
    • Manager, Planetary Science (2009 - 2012)
    • Deputy Director for Reseach, Engineering and Science Directorate (2006-2009)
    • Manager, Science Division (2001-2006)
    • Director of the Long Wavelength Astrophysics Center (2000-2002)
    • Project Scientist Herschel Space Observatory (1997-2001)
    • Lead Scientist Astrophysics (1997-2000)
    • Supervisor of the Radio and Submillimeter Astronomy Group (1992-1996)
  • Research Scientist, Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University (1980-1991)
  • Associate Professor Physics and Astronomy, University of Massachusetts (1978-1980)
  • Assistant Professor Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania (1976-1978)
  • Research Assistant Professor of Physics, New York University (1971-1976)
  • NATO-NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen (1970-1971)
  • NRC-Resident Research Associate, NASA"s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NY (1968-1970)

Selected Awards
  • NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (2014)
  • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal (2010)

Selected Publications

Books and Proceedings

  1. R. K. Janev, W. D. Langer, K. Evans, Jr. and D. E. Post, "Elementary Processes in Hydrogen - Helium Plasmas: Cross Sections and Reaction Rate Coefficients," Springer Series on Atoms + Plasmas (1987); (Springer-Verlag: Heidelberg).
  2. W. D. Langer and T. Phillips, Eds., "Herschel  A Vision of the Cool Universe," Proceedings of a workshop held in San Diego in Feb. 2001, published in 2002.

Publications

  1. Langer, W. D. and Pineda, J. L. , [C II] Emission from Galactic Nuclei in the Presence of X-rays, (2015) Astronomy & Astrophysics, 580, 5.
  2. Velusamy, T., Langer, W. D., Goldsmith, P. F., Pineda, J. L., Internal Structure of Spiral Arms Traced with [C II], (2015) Astronomy & Astrophysics, 578,135.
  3. Langer, W. D., Goldsmith, P. F., Pineda, J. L. et al., Ionized Gas at the Edge of the Central Molecular Zone, (2015) Astronomy & Astrophysics, 576, 1.
  4. Langer, W. D., Pineda, J. L., Velusamy, T., The Scale Height of Gas Traced by [CII] in the Galactic Plane, (2014) Astronomy & Astrophysics, 564, A101
  5. J. L. Pineda, Langer, W. D., Goldsmith, P. F., A Herschel [CII] Galactic Plane Survey III: [CII] as a Tracer of Star Formation, (2014) Astronomy & Astrophysics, 570, 121.
  6. Velusamy, T., Langer, W. D., Origin and z-Distribution of Galactic Diffuse [CII] Emission, (2014), Astronomy & Astrophysics, 572, 45.
  7. W. D. Langer, T. Velusamy, J. L. Pineda, K. Willacy, P. F. Goldsmith, A Herschel [CII] Galactic Plane Survey II: CO-dark H2 in Clouds (2014) Astronomy & Astrophysics, 561, A122.
  8. T. Velusamy, W. D. Langer, HiRes Deconvolved Spitzer Images of 85 Protostellar Jets and Outflows: New Data on Evolution and Morphology, Astrophysical Journal (2014), 783, 6.
  9. W. D. Langer, J. L. Pineda, T. Velusamy, The Scale Height of Gas Traced by [CII] in the Galactic Plane (2014) Astronomy & Astrophysics (2014), in press.
  10. W. D. Langer, T. Velusamy, J. L. Pineda, K. Willacy, P. F. Goldsmith, A Herschel [CII] Galactic Plane Survey II: CO-dark H2 in Clouds (2013) Astronomy & Astrophysics, in press.
  11. T. Velusamy, W. D. Langer, HiRes Deconvolved Spitzer Images of 85 Protostellar Jets and Outflows: New Data on Evolution and Morphology, Astrophysical Journal (2013), in press.
  12. J. L. Pineda, W. D. Langer, T. Velusamy, P. F. Goldsmith, A Herschel [CII] Galactic Plane Survey I: the Global Distribution of ISM Gas Components, Astronomy & Astrophysics (2013), 554, A103.
  13. P. F. Goldsmith, W. D. Langer, J. L. Pineda, T. Velusamy, Collisional Excitation of the [CII] Fine-Structure Transition in Interstellar Clouds, Astrophysical Journal Supplements (2012) in press.
  14. T. Velusamy, W. D. Langer, J. L. Pineda, P. F. Goldsmith, [CII] 158 micron line detection of the warm ionized medium in the Scutum-Crux spiral arm tangency, Astronomy & Astrophysics (2012) 541, L10.
  15. T. Velusamy, W. D. Langer, M. S. N. Kumar, J. M. C. Grave, Jets and Wide-angle Outflows in Cepheus E: New Evidence from Spitzer, The Astrophysical Journal (2011) 741, 60.>/li>
  16. W. D. Langer, T. Velusamy, J. L. Pineda, P. F. Goldsmith, D. Li, H. W. Yorke, C+ Detection of Warm Dark Gas in Diffuse Clouds, Astronomy & Astrophysics (2010) 521, 17.
  17. T. Velusamy, W. D. Langer, J. L. Pineda, P. F. Goldsmith, D. Li, H. W. Yorke, [CII] Observations of H2 Molecular Layers in Transition Clouds, Astronomy & Astrophysics (2010) 521, 18.
  18. J. L. Pineda, T. Velusamy, W. D. Langer, P. F. Goldsmith, D. Li, H. W. Yorke, A Sample of [CII] Clouds Tracing Dense Clouds in Weak UV Fields Observed by Herschel, Astronomy & Astrophysics (2010) 521, 19.
  19. P. F. Goldsmith, T. Velusamy, D. Li, W. D. Langer, Molecular Hydrogen Emission from the Boundaries of the Taurus Molecular Cloud, The Astrophysical Journal (2010) 715, 1370.

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