Cheltenham High School Hall of Fame

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Sherwood  Chang

class of 1958
inducted in 1987

Sherwood Chang

Space Scientist & Natural Historian

Dr. Chang is currently Chief of the Planetary Biology Branch at NASA, Ames Research Center, California. He also serves as Research Scientist, Technical Coordinator for Chemical Evolution Research, Extra-Terrestrial Research Division, NASA-Ames. Dr. Chang received his A.B. in Chemistry from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin. He was Co-lnvestigator and then Principal Investigator of the Apollo Lunar Science Program. He has "sought evidence of microbes or their molecular building blocks in the oldest rocks on Earth, in soils of the Moon and Mars, and in bits and pieces of comets and meteorites." Dr. Chang has been deeply involved within NASA in establishing a unique interdisciplinary research program which addresses such questions as: How did development of the solar system make possible the origin of life on Earth? What were the first lifeforms like? Is there extinct life on Mars? Where else in the galaxy is there intelligent life?

Dr. Chang is a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Chemical Society; American Association for the Advancement of Science; Meteoritical Society, Leonard Medal Committee; and is Vice-President of the International Society of the Study of the Origin of Life. He is also a member of many technical committees and has been the recipient of several honors and awards including the Harvard Club Scholarship; NASA Special Achievement Award, 1973; NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, 1976; NASA Special Achievement Award, 1981. He is the author or co-author of a long list of professional articles.

Dr. Chang considers a 1979 trip to
China with his parents, brother and one of his two daughters his most memorable journey. There he became acquainted with three generations of relatives and reconnected with ten generations of family history. Chang and his wife, Betty Jo, live on ninety mountainside acres in Northern California -- a property they have dubbed "Foolish Farm." Chang enjoys a new role as "accompanying spouse", traveling with his wife, who is an international expert in the data communications industry.