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Germany (1738 - 1822)
Sir Frederick William Herschel was a German-born British astronomer and composer who became famous for discovering Uranus. He also discovered infrared radiation and made many other discoveries in astronomy.

The 400 Years of the Telescope Advisory Board is comprised of the world's leading astronomy professionals. These individuals represent the world's most prestigious academic institutions, scientific research centers, professional organizations and leading observatories.

Dr. Steven Beckwith

Steven BeckwithSteven Beckwith is the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at the University of California, starting January 1, 2008. He was educated at Cornell University, graduating in Engineering Physics in 1973, and received a doctorate degree in physics from Caltech in 1978. He returned to Cornell in 1978 where he was a Professor of Astronomy for 13 years. In 1991, he moved to Germany to become Director of the Max-Planck-Institut fur Astronomie in Heidelberg. In 1998, he returned to the United States to become the Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was responsible for the science operations of the Hubble Space Telescope until 2005, after which he was a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University and a Distinguished Research Scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Dr. Catherine Cesarsky

Catherine CesarskyCatherine Cesarsky, ESO Director General from 1999 till 2007, was born in France. She received a degree in Physical Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires and graduated with a PhD in Astronomy in 1971 from Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass., USA). Afterwards she worked at the California Institute of Technology (CALTECH).

In 1974, she became a staff member of the Service d'Astrophysique (SAp), Direction des Sciences de la Matière (DSM), Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA) (France). She led the theoretical group of the SAp (1978-1985), was Head of SAp (1985-1993), and then Director of DSM (1994 - 1999), where she was leading about 3000 scientists, engineers and technicians active within a broad spectrum of basic research programmes in physics, chemistry, astrophysics and earth sciences.

Dr. Cesarsky is known for her successful research activities in several central areas of modern astrophysics. She first worked on the theory of cosmic ray propagation and acceleration, and galactic gamma-ray emission. Later, she led the design and construction of the ISOCAM camera onboard the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) of the European Space Agency (ESA), and the ISOCAM Central Programme which studied the infrared emission from many different galactic and extragalactic sources. This has led to new and exciting results on star formation and galactic evolution, and in the identification of the sources providing the bulk of the energy in the Cosmic Infrared Background. Dr. Cesarsky is author of more than 250 scientific papers.

Dr. Cesarsky received the COSPAR (Committee on Space Research) Space Science Award in 1998. She is currently the President of the International Astronomical Union and a member of the Academia Europaea, of the European Academy of Sciences, and of the International Academy of Astronautics. She is a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London. She is also "Officier de la Légion d'Honneur".

Trudy E. Bell

Trudy BellScience journalist Trudy E. Bell (M.A., New York University, 1978) is a former editor for Scientific American magazine, former senior editor for IEEE Spectrum magazine, and former managing editor of the Journal of the Antique Telescope Society. The author of a dozen books and 400+ magazine articles for both adults and middle-school students, her awards include the American Astronomical Society’s David N. Schramm Award for science writing (2006) and the Dudley Observatory’s Herbert C. Pollock Award for support of research in history of astronomy (2004, 2007). Ms. Bell is now a technical writer and editor for NITRD, a $3.5-billion Federal program that coordinates high-end information-technology and networking research and development for the U.S. government.

Dr. Chris Corbally, S.J.

Chris CorballyChris Corbally is the Vice Director of the Vatican Observatory for VORG. He completed his Bachelor of Science degree in physics with honors at Bristol University in 1971, his Masters of Science in astronomy at the University of Sussex (Brighton) in 1972 and his doctorate in astronomy at the University of Toronto (Canada) in 1983.

Dr. Richard Fienberg

Rick FienbergRick Fienberg is the editor in chief of Sky & Telescope, the world’s premier astronomy magazine, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has an astronomer’s “three-degree background,” having earned his B.A. in physics from Rice University in 1978 and his M.A. and Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard in 1980 and 1985, respectively. His thesis research took him to Arizona and Hawaii to capture infrared images of planetary nebulae, active galaxies, and the center of the Milky Way.

Rick joined Sky & Telescope’s editorial staff in 1986. He coordinated the magazine’s coverage of astrophysics and space-science news for several years, and in 1990 his reporting on the Hubble Space Telescope’s star-crossed science mission won a citation from the National Space Club. In 1991 he was named President/Publisher and “kicked upstairs” into management. In October 2000 he returned to the editorial staff to assume his new role.

Between covering developments in astronomy for Sky & Telescope, leading
astronomically themed tours, visiting observatories and other research institutions, and speaking at professional conferences and amateur star parties, Rick has set foot on all seven continents and stood at the South Pole. During an expedition to observe the August 1, 2008, total solar eclipse, he expects to reach the North Pole too.

Rick is a member of the American Astronomical Society and the International
Astronomical Union (IAU), and in 2002 he was elected a Fellow of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2003 the IAU named asteroid 9983 Rickfienberg in his honor.

Although trained as a professional astronomer, Rick remains an amateur at heart. From his home just outside Boston he uses small telescopes to observe the Sun, Moon, planets, and star clusters. On weekends he drives 100 miles north to the dark skies of southern New Hampshire, where he observes galaxies and nebulae using a much larger telescope mounted permanently in a roll-off-roof observatory that he built himself.

Dr. Wendy Freedman

Wendy FreedmanWendy Freeman is the Director of the Carnegie Institute Washington Observatories. She holds a B.Sc., 1979, M.Sc., 1980, and Ph.D. (astronomy), 1984, University of Toronto.

Dr. Mark Giampapa

Mark GiampapaMark Giampapa is the Deputy Director for the National Solar Observatory with specific responsibility for the Tucson/Kitt Peak program. He is an Adjunct Astronomer at the University of Arizona. He also serves as a member of the editorial board for New Astronomy Reviews.

Dr. Owen Gingerich

Owen GingerichOwen Gingerich is Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Professor Gingerich's research interests have ranged from the recomputation of an ancient Babylonian mathematical table to the interpretation of stellar spectra. He is a leading authority on the 17th-century German astronomer Johannes Kepler and on Nicholas Copernicus, the 16th-century cosmologist who proposed the heliocentric system. In recognition of these studies he was awarded the Polish government's Order of Merit in 1981, subsequently an asteroid was named in his honor, and most recently he has received the Prix Janssen of the French Astronomical Society. An account of his Copernican adventures, The Book Nobody Read, has now also been issued in eight foreign editions.

Professor Gingerich has been vice president of the American Philosophical Society (America's oldest scientific academy) and he has served as chairman of the US National Committee of the International Astronomical Union. A world traveler, he has successfully observed thirteen total solar eclipses.

Besides nearly 600 technical or educational articles and reviews, Professor Gingerich has written more popularly on astronomy in several encyclopedias and journals. Harvard University Press has published God’s Universe, lectures given at Harvard’s Memorial Church. In 1984 he won the Harvard-Radcliffe Phi Beta Kappa prize for excellence in teaching.

Dr. George Jacoby

George JacobyGeorge Jacoby is the Director of the WIYN Observatory. He holds a BS. Degree in Aeronautical Engineering, NYU and a Ph.D. in Astronomy, UCLA.

Jacoby's principal scientific interests are in the areas of chemical evolution of galaxies and the extragalactic distance scale to derive the age of the universe. He uses planetary nebulae (PN) to derive distances to galaxies that are as accurate as Cepheids. He has demonstrated that the chemical compositions of PN in other galaxies provide a way to measure the rate at which different elements are enriched over the history of that galaxy, a key factor in the opportunity for the development of life over time. PN studies have provided material for many colloquia, public lectures, and posters, in part, because of their visual appeal. Jacoby's web site of PN images consistently has one of the highest hit rates among NOAO web sites (see

With Mark Phillips at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, Jacoby has been evaluating the magnitude of systematic errors in the supernova analysis that led to the discovery of “dark energy”. With Robin Ciardullo at Penn State, Jacoby has been measuring the location and mass of “dark matter” in spiral and elliptical galaxies.

Jacoby devised the nova search component of the RBSE (Research Based Science Education) educational outreach project, and its successor TLRBSE (Teacher Leaders in …). These programs, operated by NOAO and funded, in part, by NSF’s Education/Human Resources Directorate, distribute original data to middle and high school students. Teachers receive 2-4 weeks of training to collect data, analyze it, and report their results. Students have had greater success at finding novae than any previous researchers. Many students win science fair projects annually. (see: As the WIYN Director, Jacoby provides time on the WIYN 0.9m telescope on each summer for REU and TLRBSE outreach projects.

Dr. Rolf-Peter Kudritzki

Rolf-Peter KudritzkiRolf-Peter Kudritzki has been the Director of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy since October 2000. Before moving to Hawaii Dr. Kudritzki was for eighteen years Director of the Institute for Astronomy und Astrophysics and Professor of Astronomy at the University of Munich. He has also been Dean of the School of Physics at the University of Munich and Scientific Member of the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics.

In addition to his administrative and teaching responsibilities, Dr. Kudritzki has continued to pursue a career as an active researcher. He has worked as a theorist in the field of radiative transfer and stellar model atmospheres. He has used his theoretical tools to develop new spectral diagnostic methods of stars and galaxies and applied these methods to analyze infrared, optical, ultraviolet and X-ray spectra obtained with large telescopes in space (such as Hubble, ROSAT, ISO) and on the ground. He has also been actively involved in the development of new telescopes and telescope instrumentation. In his most recent work he has started to investigate the most luminous and most massive stars in distant galaxies as a tool to understand the chemical evolution of galaxies and the history of star formation. He has published more than 200 publications in refereed journals and was invited frequently to give scientific review presentations on international science conferences. He has supervised more than 30 Ph.D. students, many of whom now hold professor positions themselves.

Dr. Kudritzki's research activities and international collaborations have led to his participation and membership in a wide range of international committees. During his time in Europe he was chair of the Advisory Committee of European Southern Observatory, a joint organization of 12 European countries operating the large European telescopes in Chile. For many years he has been a member and chair of the advisory Visiting Committee for the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute and he was chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of Universities for Research and Astronomy (AURA). AURA manages U. S. national observatories located in Arizona, New Mexico and Chile; the two international Gemini observatories which are located in Chile and Hawaii; and the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute. Most recently, Dr. Kudritzki served on the NASA Astrophysics Program Assessment committee, which evaluated NASA’s astrophysics program and submitted a report to Congress, and on a NSF committee, which evaluated AUI, the organization which manages the national radio observatories NRAO. He is also the chair of the National Science Working group for the next generation Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope, the top priority of the NAS decadal survey.

Dr. Seth Shostak

Seth ShostakSeth is the Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute, in Mountain View, California. He has an undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton University, and a doctorate in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology. For much of his career, Seth conducted radio astronomy research on galaxies, and has published approximately sixty papers in professional journals.

Seth has written several hundred popular magazine and Web articles on various topics in astronomy, technology, film and television. He lectures on astronomy and other subjects at Stanford and other venues in the Bay Area, and for the last six years, has been a Distinquished Speaker for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is also Chair of the International Academy of Astronautics’ SETI Permanent Study Group. Every week he hosts the SETI Institute’s science radio show, “Are We Alone?”, broadcast on Discovery Channel Radio.

Seth has edited and contributed to a half dozen books. He has also been the principal author of three. “Sharing the Universe: Perspectives on Extraterrestrial Life” appeared in March, 1998. His most recent books are “Life in the Universe” (2006, textbook with Jeff Bennett) and “Cosmic Company” (2003, with Alex Barnett).

Dr. Alex Filippenko

Alex FilippenkoAlex Filippenko received his BA in Physics from UC Santa Barbara in 1979
and his PhD in Astronomy from Caltech in 1984. After a two-year Miller
Fellowship at UC Berkeley, he joined the Berkeley faculty in 1986. An
observational astronomer, he makes frequent use of the 10-meter Keck
telescopes, the Hubble Space Telescope, and other observatories. His primary
areas of research are supernovae (exploding stars), active galaxies, black
holes, gamma-ray bursts, and the expansion of the universe. His research
accomplishments, documented in over 520 published articles, have been
recognized by several major prizes including the Richtmyer Memorial Award
(2007), and he is one of the world's most highly cited astronomers. He was a
member of both teams that discovered the accelerating expansion of the
Universe, propelled by mysterious "dark energy." This was voted the top
"Science Breakthrough of 1998" by Science magazine, and the teams received the 2007 Gruber Cosmology Prize for their discovery.

Filippenko has won the highest teaching awards at UC Berkeley and has been
voted the "Best Professor" on campus five times. In 2006, he was selected as
the Carnegie/CASE Doctoral and Research Universities National Professor of the Year. He has appeared in many TV documentaries, including "Stephen Hawking's Universe," "Runaway Universe," "Exploring Time," and (most recently) "The Universe." Having given roughly 500 popular talks to a very wide range of audiences, he is in much demand as a speaker. He has produced three astronomy video courses with The Teaching Company, including a 96-lecture series in 2007,and in 2001 he coauthored an award-winning textbook, now in its thirdedition. He is the recipient of the 2004 Carl Sagan Prize for Science

Mike Bennett

Mike BennettMike earned a BA and MA in Physical Science/Astronomy from San Francisco State University. In the 1970s, while serving as Director of Education for Spitz Planetariums, Inc, he developed some of the early planetarium-based astronomy laboratory activities, and also created Spitz’s planetarium educators training program and publications.

In the late 70’s Mike transitioned into the computer industry, managing advertising and marketing communications departments for several Silicon Valley companies. During that time he maintained his connection to the astronomy education world by teaching introductory astronomy at local community colleges. Returning full-time to the world of science education in the mid-nineties, Mike soon became associated with the ASP and was eventually appointed ASP Executive Director in 2001. As ED, Mike was responsible for managing all aspects of the Society’s operations and helped to guide the ASP toward even greater involvement in astronomy education programs nationwide. He retired in 2007.

Mike continues to be active in science education by serving as a consultant and advisor on several NSF and NASA-funded projects. He has also been named Inquiry Leader—Professional Development for the new Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education, managed for NSF by the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC).


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