Doris Daou, born in Beirut to a Lebanese-Canadian family in 1964, is one of NASA’s leading experts. Her family fled war-torn Lebanon when she was just a child to settle in Canada, where she would eventually grow up and complete all her academic studies.
Daou attended the Université de Montréal in Quebec, where she studied the atmospheric parameters of variable stars. She holds a B.Sc in Physics and Mathematics, as well as an M.Sc in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Her Ph.D. dissertation in 1989 was titled “Études spectroscopiques et paramètres atmosphériques des étoiles ZZ Ceti” – loosely translates into “Spectroscopic studies and atmospheric parameters of ZZ Ceti stars.” Daou then moved to Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States, where she spent nine years working on the Hubble Space Telescope.
In 1999, she transferred to the team preparing to launch the Spitzer Space Telescope, where she worked in education and public outreach and helped found the Spitzer Space Telescope Research Program for Teachers and Students.
In 2006, Daou joined the NASA Headquarters and has served the institution in a variety of roles. Among the positions she has assumed: Education and Public Outreach Program Officer, Director of Education and Public Outreach at the Ames Research Center, and the Ames Research Center’s Associate Director of the Institute.
Daou has been actively involved in NASA’s grant programs as well. As of 2018, she continues her work as an astronomer at the NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. She serves as Senior Scientist and Program Officer and Chief of Staff for the Director of the Planetary Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate since 2014.
From 2012 to 2018, she served as an Associate of Commissions for the International Astronomical Union.
Daou is the creator and producer of the Ask an Astronomer video podcast. Her research interests include observational astronomy, astrophysics, and astronomy, as well as solar systems, exoplanets, and international partnerships.
In 2008, she co-authored Touch the Invisible Sky, which is a book written in Braille, and in 2017 she co-authored proceedings of the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop as part of the Lunar and Planetary Institute.