Dr. Dominic Benford is the Program Scientist for NASA’s WFIRST mission, being designed to answer fundamental questions on the nature of dark energy, the distribution of dark matter, the occurrence of planets around other stars, and even to enable the direct imaging of planetary systems. He got his start at the University of California at Berkeley, where he worked on a balloon-borne experiment to measure the structure of the very early universe with observations of the cosmic microwave background. His graduate work was conducted at Caltech in the development of cutting-edge technologies for far-infrared imaging and spectroscopy for astrophysics. He then moved to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in 1999, where he has worked on the technology and science of almost all of NASA’s infrared missions including Herschel, Spitzer, SOFIA, and WISE. He began working on a dark energy exploration mission in 2006, which has since evolved over time to become WFIRST. A proponent of elementary-level STEM education, since 2011 he has led Maryland’s largest Odyssey of the Mind program, teaching kids to learn creative problem solving in a collaborative environment.
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