UCSC's Sandra Faber Elected to American Philosophical Society

May 31, 2001

Contact: Tim Stephens, UCSC Public Information Office
831-459-2495, stephens@cats.ucsc.edu

SANTA CRUZ, CA--Noted astronomer Sandra Faber, a University Professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, was elected to the American Philosophical Society on April 29, 2001. The learned society, founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin, honors extraordinary accomplishments in all fields.

Faber is renowned for her research on the formation and evolution of galaxies and the evolution of structure in the universe. She has made significant scientific contributions in the areas of structure and formation of elliptical galaxies; the nature, compositions, and motions of stars within a galaxy as related to their ages; and the streaming motions of large numbers of galaxies. Important concepts such as “cold dark matter” and the “Great Attractor” are direct results of work by Faber and her colleagues.

Two of the major optical astronomy ventures of recent years have benefited from Faber’s involvement: the Hubble Space Telescope and the W. M. Keck Observatory. She was one of three scientists who diagnosed a flaw in the Hubble’s mirror and later helped craft the strategy for a successful repair mission. She is a member of Hubble’s wide field/planetary camera team, which directs many of the telescope’s most striking observations. In addition, for nearly two decades Faber has helped plan and develop the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, home to the world’s largest optical and infrared telescopes.

Faber’s many honors include election to both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1995, she was appointed University Professor, the highest honor for faculty in the UC system.

Faber earned her B.A. in physics from Swarthmore College and her Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University. She joined the faculty of UC Santa Cruz and the UC Observatories/Lick Observatory in 1972.

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