Along with being the deputy director and chief operating officer of NCAR, Michael Thompson is also an NCAR senior scientist. From 2010 to 2014 he directed the High Altitude Observatory and was an associate director of NCAR. Prior to joining NCAR, Thompson was head of the School of Mathematics and Statistics in the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, and was formerly a professor of physics at Imperial College London.
Thompson's scientific research activity is principally in helioseismology, asteroseismology, solar physics, and inverse problems. He has worked extensively over more than 25 years in developing and applying inverse techniques in helioseismology and, in particular, measuring the stratification, rotation, and large-scale flows in the solar interior.