Neil Gehrels is an astrophysicist specializing in the field of Gamma-ray astronomy. He graduated in 1976 with Bachelor's degrees in music and physics from the University of Arizona. He received his Ph.D. in physics in 1982 from the California Institute of Technology. He is married to Ellen Williams, who is a professor of physics at the University of Maryland. They have two children. Tommy (born, 1987) and Emily (born, 1990). His father is Tom Gehrels, also an astronomer.
Dr. Gehrels is currently the Chief of the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. He is the Principal Investigator for the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission. Other responsibilities include: Project Scientist for the Compton Observatory (1991-2000), Mission Scientist for Mission INTEGRAL Deputy Project Scientist for the Fermi mission and Project Scientist for JDEM. He is also an adjunct professor of astronomy at the University of Maryland and of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State.