Appointment: Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology
Area of study: Astrobiology, Astronomy, History of Science
Affiliation(s): National Air and Space Museum 2011-2012; NASA, 2003-2009; American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), elected 2012.
Kluge Center project: Societal Impact of the Discovery of Life in the Universe
Residency: November 2013 – October 2014
Steven J. Dick is the second chairholder of the Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology at the Kluge Center. A well-known astronomer and historian of science, he previously served as the Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History at the National Air and Space Museum and as the NASA Chief Historian and Director of the NASA History Office.
Dick’s research at the Kluge Center focuses on the societal impact of discovering life in the universe. His study examines to what extent history may be useful to the problem of how such a discovery would impact society, and to determine the critical issues and optimal approaches to illuminating the problem. The topic is directly aligned to the Chair’s purpose of exploring the implications of astrobiology on humanity and society.
Dick is the author of 19 books and numerous articles on the topics of astrobiology, astronomy, and the history of science. He is the recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, the NASA Group Achievement Award and the 2006 LeRoy E. Doggett Prize for Historical Astronomy. In 2009 the International Astronomical Union designated minor planet 6544 stevendick in his honor.
In December 2013, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Science Committee, called Dr. Dick to testify at a hearing on astrobiology after reading Dick's review article, "Critical Issues in History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Astrobiology." Learn more
- Review article: “Critical Issues in the History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Astrobiology,” Astrobiology Vol. 12, Number 10 (2012): 906-927.
- “America in Space: NASA’s First 50 Years” foreword by Neil Armstrong, edited by Steven J. Dick (2007) (catalog record)
- “The Living Universe: NASA and the Development of Astrobiology” (2004) (catalog record)
- “Life on other Worlds: The 20th-century Extraterrestrial Life Debate” (1998) (catalog record)
- “The Biological Universe: The Twentieth-century Extraterrestrial Life Debate and the Limits of Science” (1996) (catalog record)
- “Plurality of Worlds: The Origins of the Extraterrestrial Life Debate from Democritus to Kant” (1982)
- “Preparing for Discovery: A Rational Approach to the Impact of Finding Microbial, Complex, or Intelligent Life Beyond Earth” (2014)
- “Astrobiology and Theology: A Discussion” (2014) - webcast coming soon
- “Searching for Life in the Universe: What Does it Mean for Humanity” (2014)
- “Seeing What's in Store: The Future in the Literary and Scientific Imagination” - part of the Symposium on the Longevity of Human Civilization (2013)
- Steven Dick Named Astrobiology Chair (Jun. 4, 2013)
- Steven Dick Arrives as Second Astrobiology Chair (Oct. 17, 2013)