Staff Directory

Joseph E. Pesce

Joseph E. Pesce portrait
(703) 292-7373
(703) 292-9034
W 9159
Program Director
Program Director, EXC
Program Director, NRAO & ALMA

Program Responsibilities:
National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)


Program Director
NRAO (ALMA, CDL, VLA, VLBA), Extragalactic Astrophysics
Division of Astronomical Sciences
Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences
National Science Foundation

Joseph E. Pesce is a Program Director at the NSF, Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences, Division of Astronomical Sciences. An Astrophysicist with 30 years of experience, his primary areas of interest is in the external environments of galaxies hosting super massive black holes (Active Galactic Nuclei – AGN – in particular blazars); formation and evolution of AGN and galaxies; intergalactic medium in clusters of galaxies; imaging and spectroscopy of AGN (optical, IR, UV, X-ray); multiwavelength (radio to gamma) monitoring studies of blazars; cool stars and stellar atmospheres (AGB stars, supernovae progenitors).

He is the Program Officer responsible for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the Central Development Laboratory (CDL), the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA).


  • B.A. (cum laude and with Honors), in Physics, from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
  • M.Sc., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees, all in Astrophysics, from Cambridge University (Peterhouse), UK and the International School for Advanced Studies, Trieste, Italy.
  • National Science Foundation: Program Director, NRAO, Division of Astronomy (2016-present).
    • NSF Director's Award for Superior Accomplishment (2018).
  • University of Colorado, Boulder: Visiting Professor, College of Arts and Sciences (2014-present).
  • University of Colorado, Boulder: Board of Advisors, Presidents Leadership Class (2014-present).
  • Member of the Cosmos Club, Washington, D.C. (since 2010).
  • George Mason University, Fairfax, VA: Part-time Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, (2002-present).
    • George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award, Nominee (2019).
    • George Mason University Career Connection Faculty Award, Nominee (2016).
  • Omnis, Inc.: Founder and CEO (2005-2016).
  • The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA: Research Associate Prof & Lecturer in Physics & Astronomy.
  • The Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD: Postdoctoral Fellow.
  • Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (since 1993).
  • The Vatican Observatory, Castelgandolfo, Italy: Visiting Scholar.
  • Fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society (since 1990).
  • Member of Peterhouse, Cambridge, UK.
  • The Center for Astrophysics & Space Astronomy (CU Boulder): Research Associate.
  • Member: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); the American Astronomical Society (AAS); the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the AAS; the American Physical Society (APS); the Denver Astronomical Society; the European Astronomical Society; the International Astronomical Union (IAU); Sigma Pi Sigma (the Physics Honor Society).
  • Areas of interest/expertise: Collaboration and team work; course design, development, & instruction; Critical Thinking, problem solving, analytic methodology, & research; Space & Science Policy; leadership (theory and practice); management (budget/finance, cooperative agreements, facilities, grants and contracts, personnel, & program/project); mentoring; science outreach; space programs; STEAM & STEAM education; strategic planning.

Involved in over 100 astrophysical publications.