OSA | Living History

Stephen M. Pompea

OSA Awards & Distinctions



Stephen M. Pompea received his undergraduate degree from Rice University in physics, space physics, and astronomy. His master’s degree in physics teaching comes from Colorado State University. He completed his Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of Arizona.

Pompea started his career teaching science in Colorado. From there, he became the Senior Engineer at Martin Marietta Aerospace in Denver, Colorado, USA. After completion of his Ph.D., he moved to Tucson, Arizona and became an Instrument Scientist at the University on the NASA NICMOS Project. Over the next few years he continued his work on different projects related to space, ultimately becoming, in 2002, an Observatory Scientist, Head of Education and Public Outreach Department, and Observatory Public Information Officer at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson. He is also an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Astronomy and an Adjunct Professor in the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona.

Over the years, he was able to work with NASA on a number of projects, including the Hubble Telescope, for which he worked on the development of a second-generation infrared instrument.

Aside from his own research and development work, he is a leading educator and has developed a number of educational programs both at universities and elsewhere. Pompea is an accomplished writer, presenter, and professor.

He is a Fellow of OSA. Pompea received the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal in 2011.



Document Created: 3 Feb 2020
Last Updated: 3 Feb 2020