Charles A. Beichman

Dr. Charles Beichman is the Executive Director of the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI) at Caltech, NASA’s Center for exo-planet research. In addition to overseeing the development of the science operations center for Space Interferometer Mission (SIM; now on hold) at the NExScI, he leads a SIM Key Project to find planets orbiting young stars. Dr. Beichman has been deeply involved in the search for evidence of planetary systems using first IRAS and now Spitzer. Most recently he and his collaborators have published numerous papers on Kuiper Belt and asteroid analogs surrounding nearby solar type stars based on Spitzer results. One spectacular system, HD 69830, shows emission due to sub-micron sized particles some 1,400 times brighter than our own zodiacal cloud and which appears to be closely associated with a triple planetary system discovered via RV measurements. With Mark Swain and collaborators, he adapted analysis tools used to identify weak debris disks with the Spitzer spectrometer to extract the spectrum of the planet HD209458b during a secondary transit.
For the past 10 years Dr. Beichman has been closely associated with and helped to formulate NASA’s program to search for planets around other stars, serving as Chair of the Science Working Group for the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) and authoring numerous articles and reports on TPF and the search for terrestrial and ultimately habitable planets. Before taking up his role at the MSC he was as Chief Scientist for JPL’s Astrophysics Directorate. Dr. Beichman also was Director of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) for almost a decade. At IPAC he worked on the Infrared Satellite Astronomy Satellite (IRAS) as Deputy and later Project Scientist. After IRAS he led the initial software development for the 2 Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) and was involved as a science team member in all aspects of the project, oversaw NASA’s science center support for the Infrared Space Observatory in collaboration with ESA, and initiated the development of the Spitzer Science Center.
He has served on numerous advisory groups, most recently NASA’s SSAC and the Astronomy/Origins Subcommittee. In 1988-1990 he was member and executive secretary of the NRC Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee (the Bahcall Report).

  • A.B. (Astronomy), Magna Cum Laude, 1973, Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • M.S. (Astronomy), 1975, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • M.S. (Physics), 1976, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Ph.D.(Astronomy), 1979, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii (Thesis advisor Dr. E.E. Becklin)

Professional Experience: 
  • Executive Director, NASA Exoplanet Science Center, Caltech/JPL, 2003-present
  • Senior Faculty Associate, California Inst. Technology, 2003-present.
  • Senior Scientist, JPL, 2005-present.
  • Chief Scientist, Astronomy and Physics Directorate, JPL, 2001-2003
  • Director, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, 1991-1998
  • Origins Program Scientist at JPL, 1996-2003
  • Member, Institute for Advanced Study, 1990-91
  • Associate in Astronomy, California Institute of Technology, 1991-1998, 2004-present
  • Program Scientist, Astrophysics Division, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1988 - 1990
  • Visiting Scientist, Ecole Normale Superieure and Institute Astrophysique Spatiale (IAS), Paris, various times from 1986-present.
  • Project Scientist, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (California Institute of Technology), 1985-1989
  • Supervisor, Infrared Astrophysics Group (JPL), 1984-1990
  • Project Scientist, IRAS Project, 1984-85
  • Staff Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1981-present
  • Research Fellow, California Institute of Technology, 1979-1981
  • Research Assistant, University of Hawaii, 1975-1979
  • Teaching Assistant, University of Hawaii, 1973-1975
  • Summer Research Assistant, Harvard College Observatory, 1973

Selected Awards: 
  • NASA Exceptional Service Award, 2004
  • NASA Scientific Achievement Award, 1999
  • National Association of Graphics Artists: Origins Web Site, 1997
  • NASA Exceptional Service Medal, 1985
  • NASA Group Achievement Awards for IRAS Hardware Development and Data Analysis, 1984
  • National Association of Graphics Artists: IRAS Brochure

Selected Publications: 


  1. 2007, “Comparative Planetology and the Search for Life Beyond the Solar System,” Beichman, C.A., Fridlund, M., Traub, W.A., Stapelfeldt, K.R., Quirrenbach, A., Seager, 2007, Protostars and Planets V, 915.
  2. 2007, “SIM PlanetQuest Key Project Precursor Observations to Detect Gas Giant Planets Around Young Stars.” Tanner, A. et al 2007, PASP, in press.
  3. 2007, “The Mid-Infrared Spectrum Of The Transiting Exoplanet HD 209458b” Swain et al.2007, ApJ, in press.
  4. 2006, “New Debris Disks around Nearby Main-Sequence Stars: Impact on the Direct Detection of Planets,” Beichman et al 2006, ApJ, 652, 1674.
  5. 2006, “Frequency of Debris Disks around Solar-Type Stars: First Results from a Spitzer MIPS Survey”, Bryden et al.2006, ApJ, 636, 1098.
  6. 2006, “IRS Spectra of Solar-Type Stars: A Search for Asteroid Belt Analogs,” Beichman et al 2006, ApJ, 639, 1166
  7. 2006, “The Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS)”, Skrutskie, et al 2006, AJ, 131,1163.
  8. 2005, “A Massive Asteroid Belt around the Nearby K0 Star HD69830”, Beichman et al 2005, ApJ, 626, 1061.
  9. 1998, "Characteristics Of The 2MASS Prototype Survey", by C.A. Beichman, T.J. Chester, M. Skrutskie, F.J. Low, and F. Gillett, April, 1998. PASP, 110, 480-489.
  10. 1997, "The Coolest Isolated M-Dwarf And Other 2MASS Discoveries", with J.D. Kirkpatrick, C.A. Beichman, and M.F. Skrutskie, 1997. Astrophys. J., 476, 311-318.
  11. 1991, "Narrow-Band, Near Infrared Images of Herbig-Haro Objects", with K. Stapelfeldt, et al 1991, Astrophys. J., 371, 226.
  12. 1987, "The IRAS View of the Galaxy and the Solar System", 1987, Ann. Rev. Astron. and Astrophys., 25, 521.


  1. The Explanatory Supplement to the IRAS Catalogs and Atlases, edited by C.A. Beichman, G. Neugebauer, P. Clegg, H. Habing and T. Chester, 1985, NASA Printing Office The Decade of Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics, with the Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee.
  2. The Road Map for The Exploration of Neighboring Planetary Systems, with the ExNPs team, edited by C.A. Beichman, 1996, JPL Publication 96-22.
  3. Terrestrial Planet Finder, by C.A. Beichman, N.J. Woolf, and C.A. Lindensmith, 1999.
Charles A. Beichman
4800 Oak Grove Dr.
Pasadena, CA 91109
Fax Number: 818.397.7018