Stamatis Krimizis at the College

Extending the cycle of visits and lectures by distinguished notables from Greece and abroad, the College had the honor of hosting Dr. Stamatis Krimizis, Professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA and renowned space scientist.

On Tuesday, March 19th, Dr. Krimizis “escorted” students on a fascinating odyssey through our solar system by way of his speech “The New Horizons Spacecraft to Pluto and the Ultima Thule.”


Dr. Krimizis analyzed all stages of the NASA mission in which he has taken part since its inception: from the launch of the spacecraft in January 2006, its fly past over Pluto in July 2015, all the way to its flyby of Ultima Thule in January 2019.  At the same time, he advised students never to stop dreaming and to work hard, with the aim of Excellence, in order to realize their dreams.


The Co-Director of Athens College and Coordinator of the HAEF School Units, Mr. Apostolos Athanasopoulos, together with the Director of Athens College High School, Mr. Christos Konstantopoulos, introduced the Professor and prefaced his speech. The speech was live-streamed on the College’s official Facebook page, giving friends of the College around the globe an opportunity to tune in.  You can also view the entire speech on our YouTube channel at the link below:

Our students were particularly enthusiastic and at the end of the presentation addressed a series of questions to the Professor.

A luncheon in honor of Dr. Krimizis, attended by the Directors of the HAEF Schools and College President, Richard Jackson, and held in the SAKA Club immediately following the presentation.

Before departing, Dr. Krimizis was given a tour of the campus by students.

A few words about Stamatis Krimizis:

Dr. Krimizis was born in 1938 in VrontadosChios where he attended school. In the United States he studied at the University of Minnesota, (Bachelor of Physics, 1961) and the University of Iowa (Master of Science in Physics, 1963 and Ph.D. in Physics, 1965). He served on the Faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Iowa until 1968 when he moved to the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University, headed the Space Physics and Instrumentation group, became Chief Scientist in 1980, Space Department Head in 1991, and Emeritus Head in 2004.  He has served as Greece's Alternate Head Delegate to the ESA Council (12/2006-09/2010) and as Chair of the National Council of Research and Technology of Greece (2010-2013).

Dr. Krimizis' research interests include the Earth's environment, its magnetosphere, the sun, the interplanetary medium, and the magnetospheres of the planets. As Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator, he has designed, built, flown and analyzed data from 21 instruments on NASA/ESA space science missions, including the Low Energy Charged Particle (LECP) Experiment on Voyagers 1 and 2. 
He has been the Principal Investigator on the Cassini–Huygens mission to Saturn and Co-Investigator for LAN/HI-SCALE on Ulysses solar polar orbiter, EPIC on GEOTAIL, EDP for Galileomission, TRD on Mariner 3, and for the LECR on Mariner 4.  Dr. Krimizis has also worked on the Advanced Composition Explorer, the Mariner 5MESSENGER and New Horizons programs. 

Dr. Krimizis spearheaded the establishment of NASA's Discovery program for low-cost planetary missions. The first such mission, NEAR, was developed at APL, launched in 1996, orbited asteroid Eros for a year, and landed on February 12, 2001. The NEAR team has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Trophy for Achievement in 2001. Together with two other colleagues, he was recognized for "Laurels" in Space for the NEAR achievement by Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine in 1997, and again in 2001. He was also recognized in 2001 with "Laurels" for his role in resurrecting the mission to Pluto, New Horizons, launched on January 19, 2006. He was member of the teams that were awarded the Smithsonian Collier Trophy for Voyager (1980) and the Air and Space Museum Trophy for NASA's missions Voyager (1989), NEAR (2001), Cassini (2012), and New Horizons (2016). Dr. Krimizis has built instruments that have flown to all nine classical planets, the only scientist to do so, including the New Horizons mission that encountered Pluto (the ninth planet until 2007) in 2015. He is currently Co-Investigator on the ESA Proba-3 ASPIICS instrument and the JUICE mission to Jupiter, and the NASA Solar Probe Plus EPI-Lo experiment. 

Dr. Krimizis has published more than 570 papers in scientific journals and books, has been cited over 13,000 times, and is co-editor of the book Saturn from Cassini-Huygens (Springer, 2009).  He has been awarded the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement in 1981, 1986, and 2014, over forty NASA Group Achievement Awards for Voyager, AMPTE, Galileo, NEAR, Cassini, MESSENGER, ACE, among many other distinctions.  He is a distinguished Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the American Physical Society (APS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and Trustee and Chair of Basic Sciences section (2001-2014) of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA).   In 2002 at the World Space Congress (2002) he was presented with the COSPAR Space Science Award.  In 1999, The International Astronomical Union in 1999 named asteroid "8323 Krimigis"(*) (previously 1979 UH) in his honor. The President of the Hellenic Republic has awarded him the Gold Cross "Commandeur de l' Ordre du Phoénix" in 1997.  He was awarded Honorary Doctorates from the University of the Aegean (2009), the University of Athens (2010), and the Hellenic International University (2011). The Council of European Aerospace Societies (CEAS) awarded Dr. Krimizis its 2010 Gold Medal. In September 2012 he received the 2012 IAA Laurels Award for Team Achievement for NASA's MESSENGER mission to Mercury.   More recently, the European Geosciences Union awarded him the Jean Dominique Cassini Medal and Honorary Membership, and the AIAA the James A. Van Allen Space Environments Award, both for 2014. He received the Trophy for Lifetime Achievement by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM) in 2015, the American Astronautical Society (AAS) Space Flight Award (2016), the NASM Trophy for Current Achievement (New Horizons Team-2016) and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, also in 2016.

According to Thomson Reuter’s Science Watch, Dr. Krimizis is among the 10 most prolific scientists in the field of space physics for the decade 2001-2011.  He is a regular member of the Academy of Athens since 2005.