Dr. Michael Freilich, Earth Science Director
Michael H. Freilich is the Director of the Earth Science Division, in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. Prior to coming to NASA, he was a Professor and Associate Dean in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. He received BS degrees in Physics (Honors) and Chemistry from Haverford College in 1975 and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Univ. of CA., San Diego) in 1982. From 1983-1991 he was a Member of the Technical Staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Dr. Freilich's research focuses on the determination, validation, and geophysical analysis of ocean surface wind velocity measured by satellite-borne microwave radar and radiometer instruments. He has developed scatterometer and altimeter wind model functions, as well as innovative validation techniques for accurately quantifying the accuracy of spaceborne environmental measurements.
Dr. Freilich served as the NSCAT Project Scientist from 1983-1991 and as the Mission Principal Investigator for NSCAT from 1992-1997. Until he relinquished his project posts to join NASA HQ, he was the Mission PI for QuikSCAT (launched in June, 1999) and SeaWinds/ADEOS-2 (launched in December, 2002). He was the team leader of the NASA Ocean Vector Winds Science Team and is a member of the QuikSCAT, SeaWinds, and Terra/AMSR Validation Teams, as well as the NASDA (Japanese Space Agency) ADEOS-2 Science Team.
Dr. Freilich has served on many NASA, National Research Council (NRC), and research community advisory and steering groups, including the WOCE Science Steering Committee, the NASA EOS Science Executive Committee, the NRC Ocean Studies Board, and several NASA data system review committees. He chaired the NRC Committee on Earth Studies, and served on the NRC Space Studies Board and the Committee on NASA/NOAA Transition from Research to Operations.
His honors include the JPL Director's Research Achievement Award (1988), the NASA Public Service Medal (1999), and the American Meteorological Society's Verner E. Suomi Award (2004), as well as several NASA Group Achievement awards. Freilich was named a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 2004.
Freilich's non-scientific passions include nature photography and soccer refereeing at the youth, high school, and adult levels.