CfA History

On July 1, 1973, the Smithsonian Institution and Harvard University formalized their collaboration as the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) to coordinate the related research activities of the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) under a single director. Today, the two observatories retain their separate identities, each responsible to its parent organization; however, the joint venture draws on the coordinated strengths of the two organizations and the combined staffs in six research divisions: Atomic and Molecular Physics; High Energy Astrophysics; Optical and Infrared Astronomy; Radio and Geoastronomy; Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Sciences; and Theoretical Astrophysics. In addition, the CfA has a department devoted to science education.

Harvard University's Department of Astronomy, the educational arm of the CfA, offers a graduate program of theoretical, observational, and experimental work leading to the Ph.D. in astronomy. Currently, the department consists of 20 faculty, 16 lecturers, 50 graduate students, and 20 undergraduates or concentrators. Through its faculty and students, the department participates in each of the major research efforts at the CfA, ranging from observations in radio through x-ray wavelengths to a multitude of theoretical studies in astrophysics.
The first quarter century of CfA research was celebrated in 1998. Read more...