CfA Astronomer John Huchra Elected President of AAS

Press Release From: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cambridge, MA - John P. Huchra of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) has been elected the next President of the American Astronomical Society.

"I'm honored and excited to be elected President of the AAS. I hope to guide this multi-faceted organization in beneficial directions as we make our way in the beginning of the 21st century," said Huchra, the Robert O. & Holly Thomis Doyle Professor of Cosmology at Harvard University.

Currently the Senior Advisor to the Provost on Research Policy at Harvard, Huchra served as Associate Director for Optical and Infrared Astronomy at the Center for Astrophysics from 1989 to 1998.

"John is an accomplished scientist and a dedicated contributor to the overall health of astronomy. We are delighted to learn of his election, and look forward to enjoying his leadership," says CfA Director Charles R. Alcock.

Professor Huchra's primary area of research is observational cosmology, in particular the study of the distribution and dynamics of matter in the universe and study of the formation of structure in the universe

"My largest single ongoing research program is the study of the large scale distribution of matter in space. The first step in this study was the CfA Redshift Survey - a large area survey of galaxy radial velocities to map the distribution of nearby galaxies. Margaret Geller and I published this catalog and its analyses in the Astrophysical Journal in 1982 and 1983," says Huchra.

"In 1997, Geller and I (and students) completed the second CfA Redshift Survey (CfA2). With this survey, we have uncovered evidence that almost all galaxies lie on thin, bubble like surfaces, and revealed evidence for what still remains the largest single structure seen in any survey, the 'Great Wall.'"

Huchra graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1970 and received a Ph.D. in astronomy at Caltech in 1976. He joined the CfA in 1976 as a postdoctoral fellow. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1993.

Late last year, Huchra completed duties as a committee member of the NSF Astronomy Senior Review. He makes time to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in astronomy at Harvard.

Professor Huchra is the latest in a series of distinguished astronomers from Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to be AAS President. That list includes Harlow Shapley, Donald Menzel, Leo Goldberg, Andrea Dupree, and Robert Kirshner.

Huchra will begin serving as President-Elect at the end of the Society's annual membership meeting in May. After one year as President-Elect, he will begin two years as President, from June 2008 through June 2010, followed by one year as Past-President. He will succeed J. Craig Wheeler, University of Texas, to become the 42nd President.

Note to Editors: See for additional background and photo.

The American Astronomical Society, established in 1899, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA scientists, organized into six research divisions, study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe.

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