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Director of SOFIA Science Mission Operations
Dr. Harold “Hal” Yorke serves as the director of SOFIA Science Mission Operations. Yorke comes to USRA from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he held numerous leadership positions including Manager of the Science Division, manager of the Astrophysics and Space Science Section, and the NASA Project Scientist for the Herschel Space Observatory.
His areas of research include numerical radiation-hydrodynamics simulations of astrophysical plasmas, in particular as related to star and planet formation, the study of the atoms, molecules and dust between the stars in the Milky Way – the interstellar medium (ISM); observations of the ISM and star forming regions at millimeter, infrared, optical, ultraviolet, and X-ray wavelengths; and design studies for space-based and suborbital far infrared and sub-millimeter observatories.
Among Yorke's professional activities, his service to USRA's SOFIA Science Council, his membership of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, and his role as Editor of Astronomy Notes are notable. He is a recipient of numerous awards including NASA's Exceptional Achievement Award and the Group Achievement Award.
He received his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Univ. Göttingen, Germany, and his Bachelor of Science in Physics from UCLA.