Academy elects former astronaut | KUDOS

Former South Whidbey resident and Western Washington University professor of physics and astronomy George “Pinky” Nelson, the head of Western’s Science, Math and Technology Education program, has been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences.

New members will be inducted at the academy’s annual meeting at the Museum of flight in Seattle on Sept. 20. The Washington State Academy of Sciences and its 185 members provide expert scientific and engineering analysis to inform public policy-making, and works to increase the role and visibility of science in Washington state.

“I am honored to be recognized by the WSAS and hope that I am the first of many to be recognized from Western Washington University,” said Nelson in a press release. Nelson and his wife Susie inspired many youth during their time on South Whidbey.

Nelson has been at Western since 2002. Prior to coming to Western, Nelson was a NASA astronaut who was a mission specialist on three space shuttle missions and was inducted in the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2009.

After leaving the astronaut corps, Nelson joined NASA’s Space Telescope Repair Mission Task Force, the group formed to provide an independent oversight of the Hubble Space Telescope repair missions, which he chaired until 2003.

For more information on the Washington State Academy of Sciences, visit


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