Peter Gierasch

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Peter Gierasch
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Born1941 (age 82–83)
Needham, Massachusetts
Spouse(s)Maida Gierasch
ChildrenAdam Gierasch
Amanda Gierasch
AwardsGerard P. Kuiper Prize
Academic background
EducationHarvard University
Alma materHarvard University
Academic work
InstitutionsCornell university

Peter Jay Gierasch (born 1941 in Needham, Massachusetts) is an American astronomy and astrophysicist.


In 1982, Peter. J Gierasch received his bachelor's degree in physics from Harvard university. He choose to continue his studies at his Alma Mater and immediately commenced working towards a Ph.D. in applied mathematics. [1]

Before long, through means of a mutual friend Peter was introduced to his wife of 59 years, Maida Wiesenthal. They dated for 6 short months before deciding to get married in June 1964.[2]

In 1968, within the scope of a year Peter finished his Ph.D and promptly began his outstanding contribution to planetary sciences with the publishing his first paper "Martian thermal and dynamical structure (1968)". [3] The Paper focused astrobiology of mars & the planets atmospheric wind conditions and was an enormous success. The work was the first to ever apply a systematic approach to the analysis of the relationship between the Marian surface and the planetary atmospheric conditions, highlighting the contrast shown in Earth. [4]

Gierasch published again in 1971, producing a comprehensive paper on the wind conditions of Mars with the astronomers Veverka and infamous Carl Sagan, three decades later the theories presented by said paper were proved accurate by footage from exploration of The Mars Atmosphere. . [4]

Gierasch joined the Cornell faculty as a professor of astronomy in 1972 and in 1973 began for NASA as a scientist on the voyager spectrometer team. [1]


  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellow from 1975 to 1979.[5]
  • Awarded the honour of an astroroid named after him (5153 Gierasch) and a seminar to honour his 60th birthday. . [1]
  • Receipent of the 2014 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize [3]
  • co-founder & leader of Cornell’s Center for Radiophysics and Space Research ( for 10 years) [3] With the help of his guidance and gentle leadership, the center became home to a NASA Regional Planetary Imaging Facility housing instrumentation such as parts of the Hale telescope, the Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph and SOFIA FORCAST.
  • Contribution to the interplanetary missions Voyager, Pioneer, Galileo, Cassini, Viking and more.[6]


Peter. J Gierasch was raised with two sisters Molly Gierasch and Lila Gierasch. His mother, Marian Bookhout Gierasch and sister Lila Gierasch which both studied at Mount Holyoke College.[7] Lila then followed Peter footsteps and completed her post graduate study at Harvard University.

Peter J. Gierasch was contently married for 59 years to Maida Gierasch.[2] They had two children; their eldest son Adam Gierasch followed by their daughter Amanda.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Seminar to Honor Planetary Specialist Peter Gierasch Newswise, Accessed 2 february 2023 .
  2. 2.0 2.1 Maida Wiesenthal Wed To Peter Jay Gierasch. The New York Times Company, Accessed February 5, 2023 .
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 2014 Prize Recipients American Astronomical Society, Accessed February 5, 2023 .
  4. 4.0 4.1 Peter Gierasch, planetary astronomer, dies at 82Cornell University, Accessed February 5, 2023 .
  5. Peter Gierasch, planetary astronomer, dies at 82Cornell University, Accessed February 5, 2023 .
  6. 2014 Prize Recipients American Astronomical Society, Accessed February 5, 2023 .
  7. Lila Gierasch. Mount Holyoke College, Accessed 1 february 2023 .

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