Southwest Research Institute
Boulder, Colorado 80302

Biographical Data

NAME: Daniel David Durda (Ph.D.)
Planetary Scientist

Born October 26, 1965, in Detroit, Michigan, but considers Alger, Michigan, to be his hometown.

Brown hair; Blue eyes; 5 feet 7 inches; 140 pounds.

Graduated from Standish-Sterling Central High School, Standish, Michigan in 1983; received a bachelor of science degree in astronomy from The University of Michigan in 1987, a master of science degree in astronomy from The University of Florida in 1989, and a doctorate in astronomy from The University of Florida in 1993.


His hobbies are flying, scuba diving, cave diving, caving, hiking, climbing, painting, reading, and photography.

Member of the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences, COSPAR Scientific Commission B, the American Physical Society, the Society of Physics Students, Sigma Pi Sigma, the National Speleological Society Cave Diving Section, the International Underwater Cave Rescue and Recovery Team, the International Association of Astronomical Artists, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Cousteau Society, and the Planetary Society.

Asteroid 1992 YC3 numbered and named 6141 Durda (1998); Kerrick Prize, Department of Astronomy, University of Florida, "For outstanding contributions in astronomy" (1990); Class Honors, 64th Annual Honors Convocation, University of Michigan (1987); Regents Alumni Scholarship, University of Michigan (1983).

Durda was employed as a research assistant in the Chemistry Department at The University of Michigan from 1983 to 1985 preparing reagents for use in educational and research laboratories. From 1985 to 1987 he served as a research assistant in the Department of Astronomy doing data entry and research for the Michigan Spectral Catalogue.

He served as Director of the Student Teaching Observatory at The University of Florida and Director of Public Relations for the Department of Astronomy from 1988 to 1990, conducting public openhouses at the observatory, informing the public of interesting space and astronomy news and events through newspapers, radio, and television, and giving dozens of talks at schools, community groups, and museums throughout the Southeast.

Dr. Durda was an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Florida from 1991 to 1993, teaching lecture courses in physics and chemistry, astronomy, and geology.

He is an instrument rated pilot with over 310 hours logged in the following aircraft: Cessna 150, Cessna 172, Cessna 182, Cessna 210, Katana DA20-A1, Piper PA28-140, Piper PA28-161, Piper PA23-150, Grumman AG-5B, Beechcraft M35, F/A-18B Hornet. Durda holds multiple certifications in scuba and cave diving from various certifying agencies, including NAUI, PADI, NACD, and NSSCDS. He has completed over 80 cave dives in northern Florida and spent more than 117 hours in underwater exploration in over 185 dives. He is also a trained cave recovery specialist and serves as the Colorado and Arizona Regional Coordinator for the International Underwater Cave Rescue and Recovery Team. As a member of the National Speleological Society he has participated as a team member in surveying new cave passages in dry caves in southeastern Arizona.

He has authored 68 scientific publications and given 22 presentations at professional conferences and meetings on the subject of collisional and dynamical evolution of the asteroids. He has served as a manuscript referee for several papers published in the journals Icarus, Science, Planetary and Space Science, and Earth, Planets and Space. He has also published 5 articles in popular astronomy magazines and has contributed two chapters for the popular book Cosmic Pinball, published by McGraw Hill in December 1999. His space art has been displayed in several galleries and exhibitions and has appeared in Sky & Telescope, Astronomy, The Planetary Report, Final Frontier, and Alan Hale's book Everybody's Comet.

Since 1993 he has been a technical consultant for the Sci-Med Consulting Group in Encino, California.

From 1994 to 1998 Dr. Durda was a research associate at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona. He is currently a research scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, CO, and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Sciences at Front Range Community College. His research interests include: the collisional and dynamical evolution of main-belt and near-Earth asteroids, Kuiper belt comets, and interplanetary dust; airborne observations of planetary occultations; the formation and observational detection of asteroidal satellites; the size distribution of dust from the catastrophic disruption of meteoritic samples; and the global distribution of ejecta from the Chicxulub impact crater.

August 2001

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