Dr. Kirby received her A.B. in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard/Radcliffe College in 1967 and her Ph.D. from the
University of Chicago in 1972.
After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard College Observatory (1972-73), she was
appointed as research physicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Lecturer in the Harvard University
Department of Astronomy (1973-86, and 2003 - present). From 1988 to 2001 she served as an Associate Director at
the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, heading the Atomic and Molecular Physics Division. In 2001 she was
appointed Director of the NSF-funded Institute for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (ITAMP) at Harvard
Since 2009 she has been the Executive Officer for the American Physical Society.
Dr. Kirby's research interests lie in the area of theoretical atomic and molecular physics, particularly focusing on
the calculation of atomic and molecular processes important in astrophysics and atmospheric physics. Recent work
has included studies of collision-broadened alkali atom resonance lines (seen in the atmospheres of brown dwarf stars),
electron impact excitation of highly-charged ions (to understand astrophysical x-ray spectra), molecular line
opacities in cool stellar atmospheres, and formation and destruction of small molecules in astrophysical environments.
In addition she is working on processes for forming ultracold polar molecules via laser-induced photoassociation
and using such systems as a platform for robust quantum computation. In 1990 she was elected to Fellowship in the
Dr. Kirby has both chaired and served on numerous committees of the American Physical Society, including the
Fellowship Committee (1993- 95), the Nominating Committee (1994-96), the APS Ethics Task Force (2002-2003), the Committee
on Prizes and Awards (2005-2006), and the Search Committee for APS Leadership positions (Editor-in-Chief and
Treasurer, 2005-06). She was elected APS councilor-at-large (1991-93) and Divisional Councilor for DAMOP (2003-07) and
elected to the Executive Board of APS (2005-06). In addition she has served as Vice-Chair, Chair-Elect, and Chair of
Other activities include membership on the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (2003-2008) and co-chair of the
BESAC Subcommittee on Theory and Computation, member of the NAS/NRC Decadal Assessment Committee for Atomic,
Molecular and Optical Science (AMO2010), Chair of the International Conference on Photonic, Electronic, and Atomic
Collisions (2001-2003), and member of the Editorial Board of Reports on Progress in Physics (2007 - present).
This file last modified 03/04/13