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Travis Knepp (NASA)

Title: Research Physical Scientist
Technical Focus Area: Atmospheric Composition, Chemistry & Dynamics, Stratospheric Aerosol
Study Topics: Stratospheric aerosol, volcanic aerosol
Mission/Project: SAGE III/ISS


Travis grew up on a farm in rural Missouri. Initially, he had planned on foregoing a college education to work in a local refractory that made high-temperature brick for steel mills. However, Travis’ father encouraged him to attend at least one semester of college. He applied to Northwest Missouri State University to study music. However, Travis soon changed his major to “undecided” and continued fulfilling general education requirements over the next two years. After taking an introductory chemistry course he decided to major in chemistry. During his last year of undergraduate study Travis applied to seven different universities to pursue a PhD in chemistry and was admitted to all seven. Ultimately, he chose to attend Purdue University because of its reputation in analytical chemistry as well as the campus atmosphere. There, he studied analytical and atmospheric chemistry under Paul Shepson. Part of his study required field studies in the Arctic. After defending his thesis, Travis took a NASA postdoctoral fellowship at NASA LaRC under the mentorship of Margaret Pippin and Jim Szykman. His postdoctoral work included multiple field mission deployments to study air quality; part of which involved using the Pandora spectrometer instrument. Due to his experience with Pandora, the SAGE group brought him on part time to deploy their Pandora to Lauder, New Zealand. Travis’ activity within the SAGE group continued to expand and he eventually began studying stratospheric aerosol with Larry Thomason, which has led him to where he is today.

Publication Bibliography:


I enjoy spending time with my family,  auto repair/maintenance, house repair/improvement, as well as reading. My favorite reading topics are history (predominantly ancient history such as the Peloponnesian war, first/second Punic wars, and late-middle ages) and theology.

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