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John Degnan (M’95, SM’97) was born in Philadelphia, PA on Dec. 10l 1945. He received the BS degree in physics from Drexel University in 1968, and the MS and PhD degrees in physics from the University of Maryland in 1970 and 1979 respectively.
Dr. Degnan is presently a semi-retired Independent Technical Consultant following a 38 year career at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, MD (1964-2003) and a subsequent 16 year career as Chief Scientist at Sigma Space Corporation in Lanham, MD (2003–2018). Supervisory positions at GSFC included Head, Advanced Electro-Optical Instrument Section; Deputy Manager, NASA’s Crustal Dynamics Project; and Head, Space Geodesy and Altimetry Projects Office. From 1988 to 1992, he also served as a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Physics at The American University in Washington DC where he taught a two semester graduate course in Quantum Electronics.
Dr. Degnan is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA), a Fellow of the International Association for Geodesy (IAG), a Senior Member of IEEE, a Charter Member of the Laser Communications Society (LCS), Cofounder and First Governing Board Chairman (1998 – 2002) of the International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS) and a member of the American Physical Society (APS), American Geophysical Union (AGU), and Sigma Pi Sigma National Physics Honor Fraternity.
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Dr. Degnan is the author of approximately 230 journal articles or conference proceedings on laser design (actively and passively Q-switched lasers, waveguide gas lasers), laser applications (satellite laser ranging, airborne and spaceborne single photon sensitive 3D imaging lidars, atmospheric remote sensing, spaceborne laser communications, interplanetary transponders, medical applications) and supporting technologies (optical resonator theory, optical antennas, optical heterodyne detection, nonlinear optics, scanning optical systems). He is the recipient of several professional and academic awards and is included in several international biographical listings of leading technologists.