William Blair

Research Professor - JHU
William Blair headshot

Dr. William P. Blair is an Astrophysicist and Research Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at The Johns Hopkins University. He currently splits time between ongoing research projects at Johns Hopkins and as the User Support Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope project at the Space Telescope Science Institute.

From 2000 - 2009, Dr. Blair was the Chief of Observatory Operations for the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) mission, which was a NASA-funded space telescope operated from Johns Hopkins. In 2002 he was appointed as a FUSE Co-Investigator by NASA, and was made Deputy Principal Investigator of the project at JHU. Prior to joining the FUSE project in 1996, Dr. Blair was Deputy Project Scientist for Mission Planning and Operations for the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope project. Dr. Blair was also a member of the Instrument Definition Team for the Faint Object Spectrograph, an original instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope. He has been at Johns Hopkins since 1984, and was involved in the mission planning activities for the Astro-1 space shuttle mission in 1990 and the Astro-2 mission in March 1995. Since 2009, Dr. Blair has worked on ground system development activities for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) project.

In addition to his research and technical duties, Dr. Blair has always maintained an active interest in education, public outreach, and communicating science to the public. He was heavily involved in outreach efforts for HUT and FUSE, and he still presents numerous talks each year to school audiences and public groups, running the gamut from astronomy and telescopes to climate change and global warming.

Dr. Blair's main scientific interests lie in the areas of gaseous nebulae and the interstellar medium. In particular, he studies supernova remnants and shock waves in a wide variety of astrophysical situations, using techniques as diverse as ground-based optical imaging and spectroscopy, space-based optical and ultraviolet spectroscopy, and infrared and X-ray observations. These interests carry over into areas of late stages stellar evolution, such as planetary nebulae, and into galactic scale evolutionary processes as well.


PhD in Astronomy, University of Michigan (1981)
MS in Astronomy, University of Michigan (1977)
BA in Physics and Mathematics, Olivet College, Michigan (1975)


Science Interests:

  • Supernovae & Supernova Remnants (both galactic and extragalactic)
  • Interstellar Medium Processes
  • Multiwavelength (X-ray, UV, optical, IR) Spectroscopy and Imaging
  • Planetary Nebulae and Central Stars


Research Topics: Star Formation, Histories, and Evolution; Galaxy Formation and Evolution; Interstellar Medium; Supernovae and Remnants; Stellar Populations


Professional Websites:

Professional Website


ORCID ID: 0000-0003-2379-6518


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