Texas astronomer J. Craig Wheeler elected President of American Astronomical Society

24 February 2005

Austin, Texas — The 6,500 scientist members of the American Astronomical Society have elected University of Texas astronomer J. Craig Wheeler as their next president. Wheeler is the Samuel T. and Fern Yanagisawa Regents Professor of Astronomy at UT-Austin.

Established 1899, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. The basic objective of the AAS is to promote the advancement of astronomy and closely related branches of science.

“I’m honored and pleased to take on this office and I’m looking forward to leading a very healthy and vibrant Society,” Wheeler said. “Current issues facing the Society are the fate of the Hubble Space Telescope and integrating astronomical research with the goal of sending humans to the Moon and Mars.”

Wheeler will be installed as President-Elect at the Society’s June meeting in Minneapolis. Then in June 2006, he will become President and hold the office for two years. Following that, he will serve another year as Past President.

Wheeler received a BS in physics from MIT in 1965 and a PhD in physics from the University of Colorado in 1969. His research interests include supernovae, black holes, gamma-ray bursts and astrobiology, and he heads the Supernova Research Group at UT-Austin. He has published about 300 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings, edited five books, and published a popular-level book, Cosmic Catastrophes: Supernovae, Gamma-Ray Bursts and Adventures in Hyperspace (Cambridge University Press 2000).

Wheeler also currently serves on the Space Studies Board of the National Research Council (NRC) and is co-Chair of the NRC Committee on the Origin and Evolution of Life. He is a member of the University of Texas Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

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Notes to editors: Craig Wheeler can be reached by phone at 512-471-6407 or by email at wheel@astro.as.utexas.edu.

Wheeler, J. Craig