Laurence M Trafton

Senior Research Scientist

ADS | astro-ph

Planetary atmospheres; volatile transport; evolution of the solar system.

Group Areas

Planetary Systems, Atmospheres & Life


The University of Texas at Austin
Department of Astronomy

RLM 16.326

Austin, TX 78712

(512) 471-1476


Dr. Laurence M. Trafton received a Bachelor of Science at the California Institute of Technology in 1960, after majoring in Astronomy. He obtained a M.S. in Astronomy and a Ph. D. in Astronomy with a minor in Physics from the Astronomy Department at the California Institute of Technology in 1961 and 1965, respectively. His graduate research centered on the unknown source of greenhouse heating in the atmospheres of the outer planets. Between 1965 and 1968, he served as a Project Officer in the USAF as a 1st Lt. at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, N.M. He was in charge of the development of an earth-orbiting satellite to measure the hazard that solar flare radiation posed to a military astronaut. This work was continued through mid-1969 as a civil servant (GS-13) upon completion of active duty in the Air Force. Since 1969, he has been with the McDonald Observatory and Astronomy Department at the University of Texas at Austin, first as a Special Research Associate until 1972, then as a Research Scientist to 1993, then as Senior Research Scientist to the present. He specializes in the study of the atmospheres of the outer planets and satellites.

larry trafton