2012 Antoinette de Vaucouleurs Memorial Lecturer
A Journey of Discovery: Our Expanding Universe
Dr. Wendy Freedman
Director, Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science
April 4, 2012 · 4:30 PM
ETC 2.136 [map] ·
The University of Texas at Austin
To be announced.
Wendy L. Freedman grew up in Toronto, Canada, and received her PhD (1984) in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Toronto. Her early work focused on the formation of stars in nearby galaxies, and the study of Cepheids, extremely bright stars whose fluctuating luminosity can be used to accurately determine distances between objects in space. This work led to her leadership role with the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project on the Extragalactic Distance Scale, which used Cepheid stars to measure the rate of the universe’s expansion [Freedman et al. (2001), Astrophysical Journal, 553, 47.]
In 1984, Freedman joined the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution in Pasadena, California, as a postdoctoral fellow. Three years later, she became a faculty member there—the first woman to join the Observatories’ permanent scientific staff. In March 2003, she was named the Crawford H. Greenewalt Chair and Director of the Carnegie Observatories.
Freedman has received many honors for her studies of galaxy evolution and the evolution of stellar populations of galaxies, as well as for her leadership in bringing observational cosmology into the 21st century. These awards include the American Philosophical Society’s Magellanic Premium Award (2002), the Royal Astronomical Society’s George Darwin Lectureship (2001), and the Cosmos Club Foundation’s John P. McGovern Award in Science (2000). She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000, the National Academy of Sciences in 2003, and the American Philosophical Society in 2007. She was recognized with the prestigious 2009 Gruber Cosmology Prize for her work on the measurement of the Hubble constant, whose value determines the current rate of expansion of the universe. Most recently in 2010, she was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Antoinette de Vaucouleurs: 1921-1987