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Stephen J. Mackwell
Outstanding Service Award
Stephen J. Mackwell
George Washington University
In recognition of his many years of support of student involvement in physics and astronomy, his leadership and support for SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma, and dedication to the pillars of Sigma Pi Sigma.
Stephen Mackwell has occupied the position of Deputy Executive Officer since February 1, 2019. A seasoned science administrator and expert in materials research, Mackwell is also a planetary astronomer. Previously he was Corporate Director, Science Programs at USRA, an independent, nonprofit research organization founded in 1969 by retired NASA administrator James Webb and Rockefeller University president (and former AIP board chair) Frederick Seitz. The organization does research, runs meetings, maintains extensive websites for the NASA community and conducts education and public outreach programs -- particularly focused on the challenge of keeping young people on track to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Prior to his service at USRA, Mackwell was offered a professorship at the Bayerisches Geoinstitut in Bayreuth, Germany, and he worked at the institute for two years as a professor and then for three more years as its director. Previously, he took a tenure-track position at Pennsylvania State University.
He holds a doctorate in geophysics from the Australian National University in Canberra and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. After finishing undergraduate degrees in physics and mathematics at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch in New Zealand, he finished a master's degree in astronomy there.
Mackwell is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union and the Mineralogical Society of America. Among AIP Member Societies, he is a member of the American Astronomical Society and is active in its Division of Planetary Sciences. In 2016, the International Astronomical Union recognized his contributions by naming Asteroid 5292 Mackwell in his honor.