Former astronaut turned WWU professor elected to state science academy

George “Pinky” Nelson, a professor of physics and astronomy at Western Washington University, has been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences.

The academy provides expert scientific and engineering analysis to inform public policymaking and works to increase the role of science throughout the state.

“I am honored to be recognized by the [Washington State Academy of Sciences] and hope that I am the first of many to be recognized from Western Washington University,” said Nelson, who is also the head of WWU’s Science, Math and Technology Education (SMATE) program, in a press release.

The professor will be inducted along with other new members at the academy’s annual meeting on Sept. 20 at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Nelson has been at WWU since 2002. Before coming to the university, he was a NASA astronaut and a mission specialist on three space shuttle missions.

Nelson was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2009.

After leaving the astronaut corps, Nelson joined NASA’s Space Telescope Repair Mission Task Force. The group provided independent oversight of the Hubble Space Telescope repair missions.

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