Dr. Jonathan McDowell is an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA. A staff member of the Chandra X-ray Center, he studies black holes, quasars and X-ray sources in galaxies, as well as developing data analysis software for the X-ray astronomy community. Dr. McDowell has a B.A in Mathematics (1981) and a Ph.D in Astrophysics (1986) from the University of Cambridge, England, and has previously worked at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, the Jodrell Bank radio observatory and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.
Dr. McDowell's scientific publications include studies of the cosmological extragalactic background light and the possibility that massive black holes contribute to the dark matter problem; the X-ray emission from the merging galaxy Arp 220; the nature of the broad emission line region in quasars, and the broad-band spectral energy distrubtions of quasars. He helped design the CIAO data analysis package and the software infrastructure for the Chandra X-ray Observatory data processing pipelines.
Dr. Jonathan McDowell is also the editor of Jonathan's Space Report, a free internet newsletter founded in 1989 which provides technical details of satellite launches, and a contributing editor to Sky and Telescope Magazine. Dr. McDowell's web site provides the most comprehensive historical list of satellite launch information starting with Sputnik, and he carries out research on space history topics using original sources including declassified DoD documents and Russian-language publications.
Jonathan is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (1985) and an American Astronomical Society Fellow (2020). He won the Sir Arthur Clarke Award for Individual Space Achievement in 2019. the Prix Alexandre Ananoff of the French Astronomical Society in 2020 for contributions to astronautics culture and popularization, and the Geoffrey Pardoe Space Award of the Royal Aeronautical Society for service to the space industry. The asteroid (4589) McDowell was named after him in 1993.