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20170415_123019680_iOSI am an aerospace engineer and informal science educator in Los Angeles, CA.

I joined the California Science Center in 2014. As a Curator, I develop exhibits and oversee the care and restoration of artifacts for the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, the future home of Space Shuttle Endeavour.

At the Science Center, I work with a team of designers and exhibit developers to create aerodynamics exhibits that are accessible to a general audience. I also identify, acquire, and restore artifacts that tell a story about advancements in aerospace engineering.

I hold a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from UCLA and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley. Before I started working at the Science Center, I co-founded the K-8 STEM outreach program Building Engineers and Mentors (BEAM) at UC Berkeley in 2008 and at UCLA in 2011.

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At the California Science Center, I develop exhibits and oversee a collection of artifacts for the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, the future home of Space Shuttle Endeavour. Before that, I ran a K-8 STEM afterschool program at UCLA and UC Berkeley, and also designed wind turbine blades at UCLA.

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  • Preview: Mars rover ‘Perseverance’ lands (2021 Feb 18), KTLA5 Morning News [link]
  • 8th Anniversary of the Arrival of Space Shuttle Endeavour (2020 Oct 29), KTLA5 Morning News [link]
  • Episode 6 – Perry Roth-Johnson (2020 Oct 16), Tidbits of Research podcast [link]
  • Space shuttle rocket boosters roll into California for Endeavour orbiter exhibit (2020 Sep 11), [link]
  • Shuttle-used rockets roll into California to stand up Endeavour exhibit (2020 Sep 11), [link]
  • Take a Free, From-Home Tour of Endeavour (2020 Jun 8), NBC Los Angeles [link]
  • Chatting with Dr. Perry (2020 Jun 1), Stuck at Home Science | California Science Center [link]
  • Interview for ‘Inside Endeavour’ Tour (2020 May 15) KPCC 89.3 FM/NPR Morning Edition [clip]
  • Stay At Home and Explore Space Shuttle Endeavour (2020 May 11), NBC Los Angeles [link]
  • Painting ET-94 with Dr. Perry (2020 May 5), Stuck at Home Science | California Science Center [link]
  • Innovative ‘Biplane’ Design Could Lead To Next Generation Of Wind Turbines (2019 Dec 16), UCLA Samueli School of Engineering [link]
  • California Science Center Celebrates Apollo 11 Moon Landing 50th Anniversary (2019 Jul 20), KTLA 5 Weekend Morning News [link]
  • Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Celebration (2019 Jul 20), KFI AM 640 “The Fork Report with Neil Saavedra,” [clip] [full episode]
  • AkzoNobel and United Airlines help inspire US students (2019 Feb 20), AkzoNobel [link]
  • Bob Conover talks about building Ranger, a JPL spacecraft that went to the Moon in the 1960s, then restoring it again 50 years later (2018 Sep 18), StoryCorps Archive [link]
  • Historic Apollo-Soyuz spacecraft gets new display at CA Science Center (2018 Feb 23), [link]
  • Apollo-Soyuz spacecraft gets new display at CA Science Center (2018 Feb 22), collectSPACE [link]
  • How museum work can combine research and public engagement (2017 Dec 12), Nature [link] [pdf]
  • Will STEM education be the child left behind? (2015 Oct 28), NPR Morning Edition [link]
  • GSR Episode 13 (2014 Dec 08), GradSquare Radio podcast [link]
  • UCLA Students Promote STEM Education in Local Schools (2014 Oct 15), UCLA IS Associates [link]
  • Campus mobilizes to prepare graduate students, postdocs for careers (2014 May 20), UCLA Newsroom [link]
  • UCLA BEAM engineers hands-on mentorship for young students (2012 May 30), Daily Bruin [link]


  • Volunteers restore Smithsonian’s Ranger spacecraft in Los Angeles (2015 Dec 13), Smithsonian Affiliate Newsletter [link]
  • Hiring success story: Aero engineer hired as Exhibit Researcher in a space museum (2014 Sep 06), [link (paywall)]

invited talks

  • Talking about drones: how to start a productive conversation with guests in science centers (2017 Oct 23), ASTC 2017 Conference [link] [pptx]
  • Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center (2017 Jul 19), Del Amo Flyers
  • GradSWE (2016 Nov 09), UCLA [pptx]
  • Preparing Future Faculty (2016 Apr 19), UCLA [pptx]
  • Volunteers restore 50-year-old Ranger spacecraft (2015 Nov 01), SpaceFest [pptx]
  • UCLA SciComm Career Panel (2015 Jul 07), UCLA [pptx]
  • Careers in Informal Science Education (2015 Apr 24), DaVinci Science High School

published research

  • P. Chiu, P. Roth-Johnson, R. Wirz (2020), “Optimal structural design of biplane wind turbine blades,” Renewable Energy, 147: 2440-2452, doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2019.08.143 [link]
  • P. Roth-Johnson, R. Wirz (2017), “Wind turbine blade with biplane section,” U.S. Patent 9739259B2 [link] [pdf]
  • P. Roth-Johnson (2014), “Aero-structural design investigations for biplane wind turbine blades,” UCLA, Ph.D. dissertation [link] [pdf]
  • P. Roth-Johnson, R. Wirz, E. Lin (2014), “Structural design of spars for 100-meter biplane wind turbine blades,” Renewable Energy, 71: 133-135, doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2014.05.030 [link] [pdf]
  • P. Roth-Johnson, R. Wirz (2014), “Aero-structural investigation of biplane wind turbine blades,” Wind Energy, 17: 397-411, doi: 10.1002/we.1583 [link] [pdf]
  • R. Wirz, P. Johnson, (2011), “Aero-structural performance of multiplane wind turbine blades,” 29th AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference, AIAA 2011-3025, Honolulu, HI, June 27, 2011, doi: 10.2514/6.2011-3025 [link] [pdf]
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