Emeritus Astronomer
Mike Hauser headshot

Dr. Hauser is an Emeritus Astronomer. He served as Deputy Director of STScI from October 1995 until October 2009. He retired from STScI in December 2010, and is no longer active in research. He occasionally serves STScI in an advisory capacity, and is a member of the team that nominates recipients for the annual John Bahcall Lectureship.

Dr. Hauser received a Bachelor's degree in Engineering Physics with distinction from Cornell University in 1962 and a PhD in Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1967, with a thesis topic in experimental high energy physics. He served as an Instructor and then Assistant Professor of Physics at Princeton University from 1967 to 1972. After several years of particle physics research, he shifted his research focus to cosmology and astrophysics, including development of instruments for ground, balloon and space-based instruments. Following a two-year appointment as Senior Research Fellow at Caltech where he developed cryogenic bolometers for far-infrared and millimeter-wave astronomy, he joined NASA in 1974 to start an Infrared Astrophysics program at the Goddard Space Flight Center. He retired from NASA in 1995 to become Deputy Director at STScI. During his years at NASA he was a member of the Science Working Group for the pioneering space infrared astronomy mission, the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), and was Principal Investigator for the Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment (DIRBE) and Co-Investigator for the Far Infrared Absolute Spectrophotometer (FIRAS) and Differential Microwave Radiometers (DMR) on NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer mission. IRAS led to development of numerous technologies for infrared missions in space, and revealed scientific surprises in the solar system, Milky Way galaxy and external galaxies. The COBE mission showed that the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation has a precise blackbody spectrum, confirming the Big Bang history, discovered primeval density irregularities, the origin of cosmic structures we see today, and discovered a cosmic infrared background, with implications for evolution since the Big Bang. The COBE team shared the 2006 Gruber Prize in Cosmology, and two members shared the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics. Throughout his career, Dr. Hauser has served on many review and advisory panels for NASA programs as well as study committees of the National Research Council, including Astrophysics Decadal Survey panels. Notable advisory roles for NASA include service as Chair of the Two Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS) External Review Board (1995-2003), member (2002-2004) and then Chair (2004-2006) of the SOFIA Science Council, and member (1998-2001) and then Chair (1998-2018) of the Spitzer Science Center Oversight Committee. The American Astronomical Society honored Dr. Hauser with its George Van Biesbroek Prize in 2014 for his long-term service to astronomy.


PhD in Physics, California Institute of Technology
BEP in Engineering Physics, Cornell University


Research Topics: Interstellar Medium; Dust; Star Clusters; Instrumentation; Cosmic background radiations; Cosmology; Interplanetary medium


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