Dr. Ken Jucks, Program Manager for the UARP
Ken Jucks is the Program Manager for the Upper Atmosphere Research Program (UARP). He came to NASA HQ as an IPA detailee from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO, part of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) in Cambridge, MA. He has been an HQ NASA Civil servant since 2009. UARP concentrates on the processes that control ozone concentrations in the upper troposphere and stratosphere, and therefore surface ultraviolet radiation. The program funds numerous laboratory and field campaigns that contribute to quantifying our scientific understanding of ozone changes. Typical laboratory studies include kinetics studies of key reactions that either directly or indirectly destroy and create ozone or the precursors to ozone destroying compounds, as well as spectroscopic studies required to accurately monitor the key atmospheric constituents. Typical field studies include airborne in situ and remote sensing instrumentation for focused aircraft field campaigns, high altitude balloon remote sensing and in situ observations, and long term ground based in situ and remote sensing programs.
Ken's research interests at SAO include high spectral resolution thermal emission FTS studies of the stratosphere and upper troposphere as the Primary Investigator of the FIRS-2 spectrometer that operates from high altitude balloons and airborne platforms. He also is part of the science and instrument team for the NASA Langley led FIRST project for the development of a novel multi-spectral sensor of climate and weather. Because he spent so much time surrounded by astrophysicists at SAO, he was lured into exo-planet detection research as well. In his spare time, Ken reverted to his graduate school area of expertise by contributing to the HITRAN molecular spectroscopy database that is relied upon heavily by atmospheric sensing project all over the globe.
Ken received his BA in Chemistry at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, PA in 1984. He received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1989 doing laser based high resolution spectroscopy of molecules and molecular complexes in molecular beams to study molecular interactions and dynamics. After one extra year as a post doc at UNC, he went to SAO, and never left...until NASA HQ called.