About David Brooks

See a more formal CV here.

David Brooks went to high school in North Carolina and majored in physics at Duke University. After graduating in 1963, he began work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Langley Research Center during the height of technology development for the Apollo project. He started working on plasma propulsion and later turned to orbit analysis for Earth observing missions. During this time he wrote the first paper to analyze the potential for collisions with Earth-orbiting debris left over from launch vehicles and spacecraft. He performed the first calculations of viewing conditions for limb-scanning spacecraft -- an analysis used by the original Stratospheric Aerosols and Gas Experiment (SAGE) spacecraft. In the mid-1980's he worked on data analysis for the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment, and earned his PhD in Atmospheric Physics at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London.

In 1988, Dr. Brooks left NASA and took a one-year visiting professor position at Drexel University in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Subsequently, he taught computer programming languages as an Adjunct Associate Professor and wrote three textbooks -- one on the symbolic algebra program Maple, one on Fortran 90, and one on the C programming language. In 1990 he became a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

In 1998, Dr. Brooks became a science Principal Investigator for the GLOBE Program, a worldwide environmental science and education program for K-12 students and their teachers. Along with colleague Forrest Mims, he developed several handheld instruments for monitoring the atmosphere -- aerosol optical thickness, water vapor, UV-A radiation, and solar irradiance. In this role, he has worked extensively with scientists, educators, and students in Europe, the Middle East, West Africa, southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. This work was supported through the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and continued through 2006.

Following the breakup of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science in 2002, Dr. Brooks moved to the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics as a Research Professor. In 2003, he wrote an extended set of notes on HTML and JavaScript for an introductory programming course for Biomedical Engineering graduate students. Those notes became the basis for an HTML/JavaScript programming book published in 2007 by Springer, a major international publisher known world-wide for its science-related publications. (Springer has previously published his Fortran 90 and C textbooks.)

In 2004, Dr. Brooks founded a not-for-profit corporation, the Institute for Earth Science Research and Education, whose mission includes the development and calibration of inexpensive instruments for monitoring the atmosphere and the facilitation of collaborative projects involving students, teachers, and scientists.

In 2006 Dr. Brooks developed an inexpensive pyranometer (an instrument for measuring insolation, the solar energy reaching Earth's surface). Also in 2006, Dr. Brooks conducted instrument and science education development work for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.

In the summer of 2007, Dr. Brooks left Drexel to spend full time working on Institute for Earth Science Research and Education projects. From 2006 through early 2010, he visited Lao PDR once and Thailand four times, where he worked with Thailand's Institute for the Promotion of Teaching of Science and Technology to improve science education and develop regional atmospheric monitoring networks in Thailand.

Between late 2007 and early 2011, Dr. Brooks completed three more books for Springer, one on the server-side programming language PHP, another about the development of inexpensive atmospheric monitoring instruments and another which combined the HTML/JavaScript and PHP books into a single expanded volume. (Citations for these books can be found under the "Papers & Other Publications" link on this website.)

Dr. Brooks lives in Worcester, Pennsylvania, a relatively rural community northwest of Philadelphia, with his wife Susan and two cats. Their daughter Laura is attending Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, class of 2014. He has a fully equipped workshop for wood and metal working, and equipment for building and testing the atmosphere monitoring instruments he has developed. He plays classical piano and is especially fond of his rebuilt 6'4" Henry Miller grand, originally manufactured in the 1920's.