Dr. Hashima Hasan, an Indian-born scientist, played a key role in launching the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Webb Space Telescope.
After graduation, she took the opportunity to work as a senior scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington DC. One of his important roles is as Assistant Program Scientist at the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.
His roles included oversight during the development phase of the mission to ensure science requirements were met and the best science observing program selected for the operations phase. She is currently a spokesperson for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to the media and gives lectures to students.
In a recent NASA podcast, she revealed that while she was in Class 6, a teacher told students that anything can be achieved if they work hard at it. The teacher’s statement had a profound impact on her and it was then that she chose science as her core subject for graduate school.
Hasan’s well-educated family also played a major role in shaping his interest in science. His uncle, Dr. Husain Zaheer, was the former Director General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The scientific temperament of her aunt, Dr. Najama Zaheer, who was a biologist, also motivated her.
The NASA scientist then recalled that her mother had complete confidence in her and was a driving force that pushed her to pursue her ambitions. Hasan developed an interest in space science in 1957 when the whole family gathered in the backyard to watch the USSR’s first satellite Sputnik pass by.
According to a report by The Indian Panorama, Hassan started his research on nuclear physics at the Bhaba Atomic Research Center (BARC). Upon her return to the United States, she was hired by the fledgling Space Telescope Science Institute to write software to simulate the optics of the soon-to-be-launched Hubble Space Telescope. She was also interested in optics and astronomy.
Her time at the Space Telescope Science Institute and a keen interest in optics and astronomy paved the way for her trip to NASA, as she had the opportunity to correct an optical error that the Hubble Telescope software had developed. .
She received a Bachelor of Science from Lucknow University and pursued a Masters in Physics from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), earning a Gold Medal.
Hashima then pursued a doctorate at AMU under Dr. Zillur Rahman Khan. After that, she was awarded the Commonwealth Scholarship and joined Oxford University, and pursued a Doctor of Philosophy. in theoretical nuclear physics. Hassan was later awarded the title of Resident Research Associate of the National Research Council of the United States. As part of the scholarship, she pursued atmospheric science.