Sylvia M. Johnson is the Chief Materials Technologist in the Entry Systems and Technology Division at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. She received a BSc. in ceramic engineering from the University of New South Wales, Sydney and an MS and PhD in materials science and engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
She served as Chief of the Thermal Protection Materials and Systems Branch at NASA Ames from 2000 to 2009. From 1982 to 2000 she worked at SRI International (Menlo Park, California), where she was most recently Director of Ceramic and Chemical Product Development. She has authored over 50 papers, edited 2 books and holds 6 patents.
Dr. Johnson served on the National Materials Advisory Board (1997-2002) and is a National Associate of the National Research Council. She was inducted into the World Academy of Ceramics in 2014. She is featured in the book “Women in Ceramics” and will be on the “Women of NASA” webpage.
A Fellow of The American Ceramic Society since 1992, she served as vice president in 1996–97 and as a board member from 2002–2005. She chaired five Pacific Coast Regional Meetings and was chair of PACRIM5. She is chair of the ICF Technical Committees. She received the 2011 James I. Mueller Award from the Engineering Ceramics Division.
Dr. Johnson has worked extensively in silicon nitride and in the use of preceramic polymers. She was instrumental in reviving interest in ultra-high temperature ceramics and is currently working on new thermal protection materials.