Observatory Scientist

Dr. Scott Friedman is an AURA Observatory Scientist in the Webb Mission Office. He came to STScI in 2002 as an instrument scientist supporting the COS and STIS instruments on HST. In 2004 he began a transition to the JWST project as a MIRI instrument scientist. In 2012 he became the JWST Integration and Test Scientist, working closely with scientists and engineers at Goddard Space Flight Center during the ground tests of the JWST instruments. In 2016 he became the lead commissioning scientist for JWST. In this role he works with our external partners to organize and plan the commissioning activities for the spacecraft, telescope, and science instruments, a series of tasks that will occupy the observatory for the first six months after launch and prepare it to begin Cycle 1 science observations.

Earlier in his career Scott was a postdoctoral associate and then research scientist at the University of California, San Diego where he built a near-infrared camera for use at the Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona. He then moved to The Johns Hopkins University where he was the JHU Project Scientist for the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) mission.

Scott’s scientific interests center on studies of the interstellar medium and include the abundance and distribution of deuterium in the Milky Way as informed by measurements made with FUSE and HST, the abundance and properties of diffuse interstellar bands, and on space-based instrumentation.


PhD in Physics, University of California, Berkeley
MA in Physics, University of California, Berkeley
MS in Applied Physics, Cornell University


Science Interests:

  • Properties and correlations of diffuse interstellar bands
  • Precision measurements of the deuterium abundance in the Milky Way
  • RAM pressure stripping of a galaxy falling into a galactic intercluster medium


Research Topics: Interstellar Medium; Instrumentation; Diffuse Interstellar Bands

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