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51 Pegasi b Fellowship at University of Arizona

The 51 Peg b postdoctoral fellowship  (Heising-Simons Foundation) is soliciting applications. The due date is Sept 20, 2019. Note that only certain institutions may host a 51 Peg b postdoctoral scholar: the UA is one of them. Astronomy/Steward welcome applications to the Heising-Simons Foundation that list us as a first-choice institution. For specific UA information on this fellowship, please contact  Dr Jared Males ( or Dr Buell Januzzi, the Department Chair ( Read more about the fellowship HERE and HERE

Ben Rackham of UA Astronomy received a 51 Peg b fellowship to work at MIT starting in Fall 2019. Ya-Lin Wu, a 2018 fellow, also from UA Astronomy, is now working at UT Austin. Thaddeus Komacek of UA Planetary Sciences and a 2018 fellow, is now at the University of Chicago.

Congratulations New PhD's

Six of Astronomy's graduate students have received Doctorates this summer. We congratulate them and wish them the best in their new endeavors. What follows is a picture book of photos from their post-defense celebrations. 

Ekta Patel, May 9.

Deborah Schmidt, July 17.

Ramesh Mainali, July 25.

Junhan Kim, July 29.

David Lesser, July 31. 

Yifan Zhou, August 5. 

Ruth McCutcheon

We are sad to tell you that our friend and colleague, Ruth McCutcheon, the Director of Development for the Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory, passed away on July 29, 2019, after a courageous battle with cancer. We offer our deepest condolences to her children Grace and Henry, and to her parents Jim and Martha McCutcheon. Ruth was a leader in our efforts to connect with public and philanthropic contributors supporting the Department and Steward Observatory.  Her ability to build positive relationships between individuals and communities will be greatly missed by all of us.

Ruth, with the help of her family and friends, recently created the Ruth McCutcheon Steward Observatory Postdoctoral Fellows Research Endowment to help support the research of our Steward Observatory Prize Postdoctoral Fellows and postdoctoral researchers of Steward Observatory in general. Our academic community is brightened and strengthened by the presence and activities of our Fellows.  We are grateful  that Ruth recognized their key contributions and singled them out for her support. Please consider making a donation, in Ruth's honor, to this endowment.

HERE is a photo of Ruth in front of the oven at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona. HERE is a photo of Ruth doing what she loved best, communicating with people.

Yours most sincerely,

Buell Januzzi

Head, Department of Astronomy

Director, Steward Observatory

(the eclipse photo of Ruth was taken by Alan Strauss, the other two linked photos by Cathi Duncan, and the front-page photo by Frank Gacon)

Recent Steward Ph.D. K. Decker French Wins the ASP's Trumpler Award

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific recently announced that K. Decker French (Ph.D. in 2017 from U.A. Dept. of Astronomy) has been awarded the 2019 Trumpler Award. It is given to "a recent recipient of the Ph.D. degree in North America whose research is considered unusually important to astronomy." 

You can read the A.S.P.'s press release HERE. The Carnegie article is HERE.

While at Arizona, Dr. French worked with Prof. Ann Zabludoff and contributed to a range of astronomical subfields, such as gravitational lensing, galaxy evolution, and the tidal disruption of individual stars by the massive black holes in the centers of galaxies. Her analyses included theoretical simulations, machine learning classifiers, and space- and ground-based imaging and spectroscopy that spanned ultraviolet to radio wavelengths. Dr. French's 2017 Ph.D. dissertation, "New Methods for Tracking Galaxy and Black Hole Evolution using Post-Starburst Galaxies," made important discoveries connecting the global star formation histories of galaxies to their gas content and to their galactic nuclei. She is now a Hubble Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Decker joins an impressive list of Stewardites who have won the Trumpler Award: Jennifer Scott (2005), Jill Bechtold (1988), John Hill (1986), and Gary Schmidt (1979). In addition professors and former professors Gurtina Besla (2013, Harvard), Jim Liebert (1980, Berkeley), and the above-mentioned Jill Bechtold have been so honored.

Congratulations, Decker, from all of us in the Astronomy Dept. and Steward Observatory.

WIRED Magazine Talks About Chris Walker's Huge Space Balloon-Telescopes

WIRED Magazine has an article,  HERE, about Chris Walker's "Echo like" space balloon-telescopes. You can read older stories about Dr Walker's projects HERE. You can watch a podcast of a recent talk by Dr Walker HERE.

Graduation-Related Photos from Late Spring 2019

Here are six photos covering the College of Science Graduate Students Award Ceremony, the Steward celebration of our graduating majors and minors, our new Phds, and COS graduation itself.

Photo 1   Photo 2    Photo 3   Photo 4   Photo 5   Photo 6