HEA : SWS : Dr. Christine Jones Forman, Senior Astrophysicist

Dr. Jones Forman received her AB (1971), AM (1972) and PhD (1974) in Astrophysics from Harvard University.

In 2010, Dr. Jones Forman was named director of the Consortium for Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe, one of the four grand challenges of the Smithsonian's strategic plan. The following was taken from a posting of students who attended the Ross Mathematics Summer program for high-school students:

After the Ross program, I finished high school in West Carrollton, Ohio and began my college studies in Cambridge, MA. Geographically, I've barely strayed from the Harvard campus where I received my AB (1971), AM (1972) and PhD (1 974) in astrophysics. I was a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Astrophysics, then a Harvard Junior Fellow before joining the Smithsonian at the Center for Astrophysics. My recent research has centered on the Chandra X-ray observatory, successfully launched by the Columbia shuttle in July 1999. I work with my husband Bill Forman, as well as with others from CfA and elsewhere, primarily Germany and Russia. Students from as far as Australia, Europe, England and South America and as near as the Harvard Department of Astronomy have come here to work with us. According to the Astrophysics Data System, I've helped to write about 200 papers, and surprisingly these have been cited in more than 12,000 other journal articles (hard to believe that many people actually read those papers!). Currently we are attempting to measure how the very large scale structures in the Universe grow from early times to the present by using Chandra observations to pick out distant quasars whose redshifts (distances) we measure from the ground. We also are using Chandra to observe how energetic outbursts from supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies produce shocks in the gas around them. Now what could be more fun than that?!

In large part due to my experience in the Ross program, for each of the past 15 years I've been the PI of an NSF supported REU program that brings ten undergraduate students to the CfA for ten weeks of research.

I've also worked to bring more science into elementary school classrooms. Although this has been primarily with local teachers, we developed an inquiry-based elementary science curriculum focused on seasonal change which can be found here.

On the personal side, Bill and I enjoy being parents to three great kids. After our older daughter Julia was graduated from Harvard with a degree in Chemistry, she left to spend a year in Cambridge, England doing an M.Phil. Finding Cambridge and the Chemistry department warm and welcoming, Julia has stayed to do a PhD supported primarily by a Gates Fellowship. Her PhD will be presented on July 21 (same date as the Ross reunion!) Our son Daniel just graduated from Swarthmore College with a double major in physics and economics (and rugby!). He's about to start an internship in NYC at the Federal Reserve. Younger daughter Miranda is a high school junior who loves reading fantasy books, playing viola, and playing with our dog Millie.

This file last modified 01/09/13


Directors of the Consortia for the Four Grand Challenges of the Strategic Plan with Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough. From left to right: Christine Jones Forman, director of the Consortium for Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe and senior astrophysicist; Michelle Delaney, director of the Consortium for Understanding the American Experience; Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough; Robert Leopold, director of the Consortium for World Cultures; and W. John Kress, director of the Consortium for Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet and curator of botany.


Section Photo