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Michael Werner

Photo of Michael Werner


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 264-726

Pasadena, CA





Member of:


Project Scientist - Spitzer Space Telescope


Dr. Michael Werner is the Project Scientist for the Spitzer Space Telescope and also the Chief Scientist for Astronomy and Physics at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. He has been an active researcher in infrared astronomy for over 40 years, studying star formation, the interstellar medium and the central regions of our Galaxy. He has served as Spitzer Project Scientist since 1984 and was one of the leaders of the evolution of Spitzer from a shuttle-attached payload into the elegant free-flying observatory now operating successfully in an Earth-trailing solar orbit. Werner was named the 2006 George Darwin lecturer by the Royal Astronomical Society in recognition of the success of Spitzer and is also the recipient of two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. He graduated from Haverford College in 1963 with a B.A. in physics and received a PhD in Astronomy from Cornell University in 1968.


  • B.A. in Physics, Haverford College, Haverford, PA (1963)
  • Ph.D. in Astronomy, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (1968)

Professional Experience

  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
    • Chief Scientist, Astronomy and Physics Directorate, (2004 - Present)
    • JPL Fellow (2007 - Present)
    • Senior Research Scientist, (1990 - Present)
  • NASA/Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA., Astrophysicist, Astrophysics Branch of Space Sciences Division, (1979 - 1990)
  • California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, Assistant Professor of Physics, (1972 - 1979)

Research Interests

  • Star Formation
  • Interstellar Mediuim
  • Infrared astronomy of the central regions of our Galaxy

Selected Awards

  • Tuve Fellow, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (2012)
  • NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal (2010)
  • Muhlmann Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific to the Spitzer Space Telescope Team (2010)
  • Herzfeld Lecturer, Catholic University of America (2008)
  • JPL Fellow (2007)
  • Pickering Lecture, AIAA (2007, 2009)
  • George Darwin Lecturer, Royal Astronomical Society (2006)
  • NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals (2004, 2005)
  • Greenstein Lecturer, Caltech Astronomy Department (2004)

Selected Publications

  1. M.W. Werner, D.W. Murphy, J.H. Livingston, V. Gorjian, D.L. Jones, D.L. Meier, C.R. Lawrence. "Spitzer Observations of Hotspots in Radio Lobes', ApJ, 759, p.86 (2012).
  2. F.Y. Morales, D.L. Padgett, G. Bryden, M.W. Werner, E. Furlan. "WISE Detections of Dust in the Habitable Zones of Planet-bearing Stars", ApJ, 757, p.7 (2012).
  3. M.W. Werner. "The Spitzer Space Telescope", Optical Engineering<.i>, 51a1008W (2012).
  4. F.Y. Morales, G.H. Rieke, M.W. Werner, G. Bryden, K.R. Stapelfeldt, K.Y.L. Su. "Common Warm Dust Temperatures Around Main Sequence Stars", ApJ, 730, p.L29 (2011).
  5. B.T. Soifer, G. Helou, and M. Werner, "The Spitzer View of the Extragalactic Universe", Ann Rev Astron Astrophys, 46, 201 (2008).
  6. M. Werner, G. Fazio, G. Rieke, T.L. Roellig. D.M. Watson, "First Fruits of the Spitzer Space Telescope: Galactic and Solar System Studies", Ann Rev Astron Astrophys, 44, 269 (2006).
  7. M. W. Werner, T. L. Roellig, F. J. Low, G. H. Rieke, M. Rieke, W. F. Hoffmann, E. Young, J. R. Houck, B. Brandl, et al., "The Spitzer Space Telescope Mission", ApJ Supp, 154:1-9, (2004).