- Press Release
- Oct 31, 2023
Research and Education Leader to Head NCAR
BOULDER–Timothy Killeen, an upper-atmosphere expert and education innovator at the University of Michigan, has been named director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Richard Anthes, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which manages NCAR, announced the selection today. Killeen will join the NCAR staff July 1. He was selected following a comprehensive, international search begun last year after NCAR’s current director, Robert Serafin, announced that he would step down this spring. NCAR’s primary sponsor is the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Killeen is currently a professor in the University of Michigan’s Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences Department and is associate vice-president for research. He leads a research group of 15 scientists and engineers who use a combination of theoretical and experimental techniques to investigate the dynamics, chemistry, and composition of the upper atmospheres of the Earth and other planets. He is also director of the university’s Global Change Laboratory and past director of its Space Physics Research Laboratory. He has been honored with both the Excellence in Teaching and the Excellence in Research awards from the University of Michigan and with two achievement awards from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
In announcing Killeen’s appointment, Anthes said: “We are extremely pleased that Tim Killeen has agreed to serve as NCAR’s director. Tim has a distinguished record of scientific achievement, educational innovation, management, and leadership. He has shown a deep understanding, desire, and excitement to lead the center into the future. His appointment is being received with enthusiasm at NCAR, the NSF, and throughout the UCAR community.”
A native of Cardiff, Wales, Killeen received a bachelor of science degree in physics and a Ph.D. in atomic and molecular physics from University College London. He has authored or coauthored over 100 scientific publications in refereed journals. He is president of the Space Physics and Aeronomy Section of the American Geophysical Union and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar- Terrestrial Physics.
A frequent scientific visitor to NCAR, Killeen has served on a number of NCAR and UCAR visiting and advisory committees. He plans to continue his research interests in collaboration with NCAR’s High Altitude Observatory staff, who study the sun and solar- interactions with the Earth’s upper atmosphere. He is currently a principal investigator and instrument developer for a space-borne Doppler interferometer study funded by NASA. He has also chaired the science steering committee of NSF’s Coupling, Energetics, and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions (CEDAR) program.
Killeen has distinguished himself in the area of education reform as well. He is chief scientist for the Institution-Wide Reform of Undergraduate Education, an NSF-funded program at the University of Michigan, and is the founding director of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates. He teaches regularly at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
Killeen is married and has three children. His wife, Roberta Johnson, also a research professor in the Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences Department at Michigan, will join UCAR as a scientist and director of education and outreach.
NCAR is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of more than 60 universities offering Ph.D.s in the atmospheric and related sciences.