NASA scientist Hashima Hasan recalls AMU’s role in her career


A bright alumnus of the Muslim University of Aligarh (AMU), Dr. Hashima Hasan recalled the contribution of her Alma mater in shaping her career as a scientist.

Dr. Hashima Hasan is a Program / Disciplinary Scientist at NASA for NuSTAR, the Keck Observatory and ADCAR, and an Associate Program Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope and the SOFIA mission. She served as Education and Communication Leader for Astrophysics and as Executive Secretary of the Astrophysics Advisory Committee.

In an interview, she recalled: “The job at NASA is dynamic, ‘challenging and energizing, and my journey to become a rocket scientist began after a graduate degree in Nuclear Physics at the Muslim University of Aligarh.”

She said that student life at AMU from 1968 to 1973 and the academic credentials obtained at the university helped her obtain a prestigious scholarship to continue her studies in Nuclear Sciences at the University of Oxford.

He also attended the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research, Mumbai for a post-doctorate and worked at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in Mumbai before coming to the United States on a grant from the Council of the United States.

He said the fascination with space science began when he watched Sputnik launch, gazing at the stars in a clear night sky that offered a fascinating display of celestial bodies in his hometown of Lucknow in 1957.

“I was a child at the time, but the spectacular satellite launch made me eager to follow every success and failure in the newspaper. I clearly remember the day man landed on the moon, “said Dr. Hashima in her interview with NASA STEM Stars.

“Later in my life, I worked at the Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, writing the simulation software for the optics of the Hubble Space Telescope and its science instruments, using it to analyze Hubble’s optical error after launch,” he shared at the interview.

Dr. Hashima recalled that, as an optical telescope assembly scientist, it was her job to keep the telescope in best focus until a solution could be installed.

“So I was ready to achieve my dream of working directly for NASA. An opportunity arose in 1994 when a job for a visiting senior scientist was advertised. Although it was a two-year job, I found working at NASA Headquarters so stimulating and rewarding that I stayed, “he said, adding that NASA’s space science program gives him the opportunity to lead cutting-edge science, work with world-class scientists and write research papers on astronomy.

Listen again; Dr. Hashima said that, like many Indians at the time, she landed on the shores of New York with her college degrees, her wit, and a leap of faith in the promises of the New World.

I worked hard and gave this land everything I had, and this great nation paid me back handsomely; but it all started at AMU, he emphasized.