As a graduate of Coventry High School, Jim Bell has distinguished himself in the field of astronomy and space exploration. Jim, who graduated from CHS in 1983, earned his undergraduate degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1987 then went on to get a masters degree and PhD from the University of Hawaii. After moving to Cornell University, he served as a research assistant which offered him an opportunity to work with Carl Sagan before Carl died in 1996.
Jim moved on to become an Assistant Professor at Cornell, then an Associate Professor, and finally a tenured Professor of Astronomy. His areas of expertise include surface composition and geology of terrestrial planets, asteroids, comets; telescopic observations and instrumentation; reflectance & emittance spectroscopy (Telescopic, Laboratory, Spacecraft); and Image Processing and Data Reduction/Calibration/Analysis (Telescopic, Spacecraft).
He has worked on NASA projects including the NEAR Project in 2001, where a spacecraft was landed on an asteroid, and was the leader of the Pancam color camera team for the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity in 2004. He moved to Arizona State University in 2011 and is still collaborating with NASA, currently as a member of the camera team for Curiosity, the newest Mars rover.
Jim has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work including 11 NASA Group Achievement Awards for his involvement in numerous robotic space exploration missions, his selection as a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow, 2007, and Carl Sagan Medal for Excellence in Public Communication, AAS/DPS, 2011. Finally, Jim was also honored by having an asteroid named after him, 8146 JimBell, by the International Astronomical Union, in 1999.
Jim Bell has truly distinguished himself and Coventry High School through his academic pursuits and achievements in the area of space exploration. He is truly a role model for the students of CHS to emulate.
Tickets to the March 28 ceremony are available for $30 from Ernie DiMicco at 401-261-6902 or email@example.com by March 21. Donations are welcome with proceeds going to Coventry High School Senior Scholarships.