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Phone: 202 - 358 - 0879
Email: Max.Bernstein at nasa.gov

Max Bernstein


Max Bernstein received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from McGill University in Montreal (where he learned in the labs of Dr. David Harpp) and returned to New York to continue his studies in chemistry. In graduate school at Cornell University Max performed kinetics on reactions in the presence of TMEDA, and got his Ph.D. working with Dr. David Collum, from whom he received much knowledge and amusement.

Max is currently a research scientist at NASA Ames where he studies the (organic) photochemistry of interstellar/cometary ices with Drs. Louis J. Allamandola and Scott A. Sandford. Dr. Bernstein has won the Zeldovich Medal (awarded jointly by the Russian Academy of Sciences and COSPAR, an international space organization) two of NASA Ames Space Science Division Awards, an Ames honor award, an American Chemical Society Newsmaker award, and has twice been member of a team that won NASA's group achievement award.

Dr. Bernstein co-organized (with Jennifer Blank) an ACS Special Symposium on Extraterrestrial chemistry, and similar sessions at COSPAR meetings that have appeared as special issues of the journal Advances in Space Research. In fact, we are still accepting write-ups for papers presented at the session on complex organics in space from the COSPAR meeting last summer in Paris, I have over a dozen manuscripts already. Max has contributed to books such as CRC Dictionary of Geophysics, Astrophysics and Astronomy, published a number of technical papers papers in peer reviewed scientific journals including in the prestigious Science and Nature. For a non-technical version of what he does and why we care you can read online versions of his articles for Scientific American and Strange Horizons.

You can read popular science articles written by others about some of Dr. Bernstein's work at Science News, You can listen to one of his interviews on line with the BBC, and enjoy talks he gave at the RPI NSCORT, and McGill Univeristy (you need windows media player, click on 'MoleculesFromSpace'). Dr. Bernstein has appeared occasionally on the radio and TV (i.e., tactical to practical) and often addresses scientific assemblies, educational institutions, and corporate gatherings. If you would like to have Dr. Bernstein speak to your institution you can contact him (see below).

If you would like to know more about the science please visit the web site for The Astrochemistry Lab. This work is generously supported through grants from NASA. Dr. Bernstein is the Principal Investigator on grants from the Planetary Geology and Geophysics and Exobiology programs, is a Co-Investigator on an origins of solar systems grant, and is a Co-Investigator on two NASA Astrobiology Institute grants (through the Ames and SETI teams).

Max spends his free time after work, cooking, trying new restaurants and wine. Max makes wine too, above is a picture of him with the grapes (purchased from Mr. Hoopes) he is making into wine.