American Philosophical Society
Member History

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101. Astronomy[X]
1Name:  Dr. Robert P. Kirshner
 Institution:  Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory; Harvard University
 Year Elected:  2005
 Class:  1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences
 Subdivision:  101. Astronomy
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1949
Robert Kirshner is best known for his observational studies of supernovae, which helped provide the scientific grounding for the teams investigating these extraordinarily distant lighthouses, and this in turn led to the surprising conclusion that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, probably the most significant cosmological discovery of the past decade. His previous work included important research on the large scale distribution of galaxies. A lively and entertaining lecturer, he teaches Harvard University's largest core course in the mathematical sciences. When applying for graduate school at Harvard, he was denied admission on the grounds that he was interested in too many things to be serious about astronomy; he later became Chair of the Harvard Astronomy Department, and he is president of the American Astronomical Society. Dr. Kirshner presently holds the titles of Clowes Professor of Science at Harvard University and Master of Quincy House at Harvard College. He received his Ph.D. in 1976 from the California Institute of Technology and was elected to the membership of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 1992 and the National Academy of Sciences in 1998. In 2012 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. He received the James Craig Watson Medal of the National Academy of Sciences in 2014 and the Wolf Prize in 2015.
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