Meet Dr. Sanjay Limaye, P.E.T. Online Host Scientist

From: SanjayLimaye <> (by way of Jan Wee <>)
Subject: Meet Dr. Sanjay Limaye, P.E.T. Online Host Scientist
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 15:54:36 -0600

Dear debate-lfm and discuss-lfm members,

It is my pleasure to share this introduction/welcome file from Dr. Sanjay
Limaye who will be hosting our Planet Explorer Toolkit online debate 
coming up in early January in the debate-lfm forum.  I personally
have met Sanjay and know of his dedication to improving science education
and scientific literacy for K-12 students.  His education outreach efforts 
are well known. May you and your students gain as much from him as those 
here in Wisconsin have!

Jan Wee, Education Outreach Coordinator
Passport To Knowledge

PS: Dr. Limaye's biography and picture will be found online at our
    Mars Team web site within the near future.


Sanjay Limaye
Planetary Scientist
Space Science & Engineering Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison

At the Swedish Solar Telescope
La Palma, Canary Islands

Who I am and where do I work?
I am a scientist at the Space Science & Engineering Center (SSEC) of the 
University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, Wisconsin.  SSEC is part of the 
Graduate School and is organized as an independent research and development 
center.  It was founded by the late Prof. Verner E. Suomi, often called the 
Father of Weather Satellites.  He earned this title by virtue of flying the 
first successful earth orbiting instrument that looked down on the earth, 
instead of looking outwards to space, in 1959.  He went on to invent the 
Spin Scan Camera for geosynchronous satellites that exploited the stable 
orientation of a spinning drum shaded spacecraft.   Currently, SSEC archives 
the US weather satellite imagery under contract with the National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration.  SSEC scientists and engineers have built or 
calibrated instruments that have gone to Venus (Pioneer Venus Net Flux 
Radiometer), Jupiter (Galileo Probe Net Flux Radiometer) as well as flown on 
the shuttle (Diffuse X-Ray Spectrometer) and on the Hubble Space Telescope 
(High Speed Photometer).

How did I get here?
A series of seemingly unrelated events led me to where I am today.  I 
remember getting excited while in high school in New Delhi, India, when I 
learned that spacecraft were being deployed to explore the planets (Mariner 
2 and Zond 2).  However, my career ambitions, or dreams were to either 
captain a ship or an airplane.  Dreams remained dreams and I pursued 
neither, opting for a scientific course of study in college, choosing to 
major in Physics (instead of Chemistry - despite two generations of 
chemists).  A very generous Science Talent Scholarship from the Government 
of India  (somewhat patterned after the Westinghouse Science Scholarship 
Program in the US) was instrumental in this choice as it essentially paid 
for most of my college career.

I came to the University of Wisconsin in Madison to pursue further studies 
in satellite meteorology, a new and exciting field.  There I got a chance to 
work with the images of Venus from the Mariner Venus Mercury mission. 
 Eventually I ended up doing my thesis on the circulation of Venus as it was 
so exciting to tackle something new and previously unknown, to know that we 
were at the forefront of expanding our knowledge of our planetary neighbors. 
 Not only was it challenging, it was fun.  I have continued to be lucky 
enough to carry that same feeling of excitement and fun to learn about the 
other planets, from Venus to Neptune, through the Pioneer Venus and Voyager 

The Venus connection also offered me an opportunity to spend some time in 
the Big Apple working in the building showcased in the TV show, Seinfeld - 
Tom s  (Monk s in the show) Restaurant and work with some brilliant folks at 
the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.   After that stint, I returned to 
SSEC, where I continue to work.

The scientific contributions I am proud of include discovering the 
circulation of the atmosphere of Venus and its organization into two giant, 
hemispheric vortices; the detailed determination of the cloud motions on 
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, the discovery of lofting of smoke from 
the Persian Gulf oil well fires in 1991, as well as the realization that the 
impact features on Jupiter from the Shoemaker Levy 9 comet fragments were 
very high from their apparent parallax  measurable from earth-based images 
of the planet.

Currently I am working on an idea with other scientists to use multiple Mars 
orbiting spacecraft to determine the atmospheric thermal structure by 
measuring the bending of radio waves by the Martian atmosphere from one 
spacecraft to another as they occult each other sometime in their orbits. 
 With many orbiting spacecraft being planned to be sent to Mars, the 
experiment (which has been performed with a single spacecraft and a receiver 
on the earth successfully in the past) has the potential of retrieving many 
high resolution profiles at all Martian locations every day.

I have also submitted a participating scientist proposal for the Mars 
Pathfinder (Imager), and am hoping to be selected.  I think it would be 
tremendous fun to work with the near surface images to learn about the 
Martian atmosphere.

Lately I have been using earth based telescopes to continue investigating 
the planets.  Last year I led an effort to observe Jupiter from the Swedish 
Solar Telescope when the planet was only about 10-15 degrees from the Sun in 
support of the Galileo Probe Entry Site Imaging effort coordinated by Glenn 
Orton of JPL.

Recently, I have been pursuing outreach efforts locally and regionally, and 
have participated in many projects with schools and teachers.  I was a 
support astronomer for the Live from the Hubble Space Telescope Program, 
another Passport to Knowledge project that occurred earlier this year.

I am looking forward to hosting the 30th Annual Meeting of the Division of 
Planetary Sciences in Madison in 1998 at the new Monona Terrace Convention 
Center, a Frank Lloyd Wright designed facility.

Likes/dislikes about career
What I like most is the opportunity to learn something new that is adding to 
our knowledge about other planets and also ours.  I am fortunate to have the 
infrastructure and a supporting organization that enables me to continue to 
have fun in my work.   A side benefit is that I occasionally get to travel 
to a variety of places around the world that I otherwise would probably 
never have an opportunity to visit and explore.  I also like the 
opportunities to communicate with the general public as a scientist.  I feel 
it is important to impart the knowledge we have gained in an understandable 
manner to the public that supports our activities.

The main dislike has to be the amount of effort we have to go through to 
generate the support for our work - the proposal writing.

I have three wonderful children.  At least two of them had an early ambition 
to discover a comet!  I wonder if they will.  They provide tremendous joy to 
me and are very much aware of what I do for work.  I enjoy traveling, 
downhill and cross-country skiing and sailing.


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