Marsha R. Torr

Marsha Torr founded YourScienceEditors—an academic and business writing, editing and consulting service—in 2010.  YourScienceEditors works with universities, companies, non-profit organizations, and individuals to produce competitive grants and well-written manuscripts and reports.

From 2000-2005 she served as Vice President for Research at Virginia Commonwealth University, and was responsible the research of the institution, including partnerships with other universities, federal relations, grants and contracts, inventions and licensing, research compliance, development of research competitiveness, and research institutes.  She held the position of professor in the Department of Physics (2000-2005).  Prior to that she served as Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she also had responsibility for the State Museum of Natural History, the University of Nebraska Press, and various research centers, and was professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.  From 1995-99 she served as Vice Provost for Research at the University of South Carolina, responsible for the research, intellectual property and federal relations interests of the 40,000 student, 8-campus system and three university research institutes.  She was founding Executive Director of the South Carolina Research Institute, the research foundation of USC, and held the position of professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.  At each of these three universities, she led a significant enhancement in the research enterprise.

In 1985 she joined the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center as Chief of the Atomic Physics Branch, developing a branch with expertise in advanced optics/detectors for use in space to study the atmosphere, and was involved in the pioneering of the first narrow band filters for use in the vacuum ultraviolet—receiving the Center Director's Commendation for establishing this branch.  While Division Chief of the Solar-Terrestrial Physics Division, she also served as Principal Investigator of satellite and shuttle-borne investigations, and as Mission Scientist for the successful international ATLAS-1 shuttle mission, which flew in 1993 as part of NASA's Mission to Earth.  In 1990 she received the Center Director's Commendation for her work in imaging spectroscopy.  Her work in photochemistry did much to establish and quantify the energetics of the upper atmosphere.  From 1992-1995 she was Chief Scientist for the Marshall Space Flight Center's Payload Projects Office, representing the science interests of the Space Shuttle and Space Station scientific teams as part of the management team that implemented those programs.  

In 1980 she joined the Utah State University as Professor of Physics, where she was responsible for a successful Spacelab1 investigation.  This instrument incorporated the first intensified-CCD focal plane detectors used in space.  During this time, she developed a high-resolution ultraviolet imaging spectrograph, which was flown in 1983 on a high altitude balloon to make the first altitude measurements of the OH radical in the stratosphere.  She was selected as Principal Investigator of the Ultraviolet Imager for the International Solar-Terrestrial Physics satellite mission and served as Principal Investigator of this instrument until its delivery for spacecraft integration in 1992.  The UVI operated from its launch in 1996 until 2008.  In 1983 she received Utah State's D. Wynne Thorne award for excellence in research.

In 1974, she joined the Space Physics Research Laboratory of the University of Michigan, where she conducted studies on the photochemistry of the thermosphere as Co-Investigator of the multi-institutional Atmosphere Explorer satellite program.  She was selected to develop an array of advanced imaging spectrometers to fly on the Spacelab 1 mission, establishing the necessary laboratory facilities and personnel for this development.  She played an active role in the international Investigator Working Group activities for the mission, serving as chairman of the Atmospheric and Earth Sciences Discipline group and on the selection committee for the Payload Specialists.

She received her MSc and PhD degrees from Rhodes University, South Africa.  She subsequently held the positions of Junior Lecturer and Lecturer in Physics at Rhodes University and the University of the Witwatersrand respectively.  In 1969 she joined the National Institute of Telecommunications Research where she conducted studies on the ionosphere and thermosphere, building the instrumentation and establishing airglow observatories.  In 1973-4 she was Visiting Fellow at Yale University's Department of Geology and Geophysics.  During her scientific career, Marsha Torr has published 140 papers in the refereed literature, has made major contributions to knowledge of the upper atmosphere, has advanced the technology in space optics and focal plane array detectors, has served on National Academy of Sciences and international committees, has been well funded by NASA, NIH, and DOE, and has held various offices in the American Geophysical Union and the International Association for Geomagnetism and Aeronomy.