David Alexander is Director of the Rice Space Institute (RSI) and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, where his primary area of research is solar astrophysics. As RSI Director, Professor Alexander is responsible for the mission and direction required to develop and achieve the goals and objectives of the institute. He has established a strong Rice presence in the Houston space community and strengthened the institutional ties with the NASA Johnson Space Center, developed partnerships with local aerospace industries and created a strong rapport with local, regional and federal government leaders.
Professor Alexander is a member of the Rice Faculty Senate and author of “The Sun” part of the Greenwood Press “Guide to the Universe” Series. He received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2004 and was appointed a Kavli Frontiers Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences in 2006. He serves or has served in a number of leadership roles: Chair of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomy Society, Chair of the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory Users’ Committee, Chair of the Solar Heliospheric Interplanetary Environment (SHINE) program. He has had the privilege of having served on many national and professional committees including the NASA Advisory Council’s Heliophysics Subcommittee, the NASA Solar Heliospheric Management and Operations Working Group (SH-MOWG), ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter Payload Committee and the Science Advisory Board of the High Altitude Observatory Coronal Solar Magnetism Observatory.
Professor Alexander joined the faculty at Rice in 2003 from the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, California where he was a Staff Physicist working on the development of advanced space missions for solar physics. He received his Bachelor of Science in Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, and his doctorate on Relativistic Cosmological Models from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He has over 130 published works.
On June 12, 2018 it was announced that Professor Alexander will become an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). This OBE will be awarded to Dr. Alexander “for his services to UK/US links in the space industry and higher education.”