Director, Rice Space Institute
David Alexander is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, where his primary areas of research are solar physics, exoplanetary physics and earth remote sensing. Alexander also serves as the Director of the Rice Space Institute where he is responsible for providing vision, direction, and leadership, managing the various institute programs, identifying and fostering research opportunities for our faculty, and interacting with government and the space industry.
Professor Alexander was awarded an OBE in June 2018 for services to the space industry at home and abroad and to higher education. David 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 is former Chair of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society and former Chair of the Solar Heliospheric Interplanetary Environment program. He has served on many professional committees including the NASA Advisory Council’s Heliophysics Subcommittee, and the NASA Solar Heliospheric Management and Operations Working Group. He currently serves on the advisory boards of SpaceCom, the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and on the editorial boards of Space Science Reviews and ROOM: The Space Journal.
He has been named a GlobalScot by the Scottish government and was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Astronautical Society in 2018. He was recently appointed Chair of the inaugural Aerospace and Aviation Industry Committee of the Greater Houston Partnership and to the Board of Directors of the Houston Spaceport Development Corporation. Professor Alexander joined the faculty at Rice in 2003. He received his Bachelor of Science in Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, and his doctorate on Relativistic Cosmological Models from the University of Glasgow.