David A. Williams is a Research Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the director of the Ronald Greeley Center for Planetary Studies, the NASA Regional Planetary Information Facility at ASU. He is also the director of the NASA Planetary Aeolian Laboratory at the Ames Research Center in California. Professor Williams is currently performing research in volcanology and planetary geology, with a focus on planetary mapping, geochemical, and remote sensing studies. His research has included computer modeling of seismic wave propagation through planetary interiors, visible and near-infrared spectroscopy of the lunar surface, planetary geologic mapping of the satellites of Jupiter, the planets Mars, Titan, and Pluto, and the asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres, computer modeling of the physical and geochemical evolution of lava flows in a variety of planetary environments, and petrologic study of lava samples from Mount St Helens.
He was involved with NASA’s Magellan Mission to Venus, Galileo Mission to Jupiter, and Dawn Mission to asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres. He is a Co-Investigator on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter mission. He is a past chair of the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America (GSA), and, in 2014, he was elected to become a fellow of the GSA. Also in 2014, the International Astronomical Union named asteroid 10,461 DAWilliams in his honor. Professor Williams is also a Science Team member and Deputy Imager Lead of NASA's Psyche mission, selected by NASA in January 2017 as the next Discovery mission to visit metal asteroid (16) Psyche in 2026. In 2017 he received the Ronald Greeley Distinguished Service Award from the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America. He is a past Secretary of the Planetary Sciences Section of the American Geophysical Union.