Kate Kirby Named Executive Officer of the American Physical Society
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
News Feature

Dr. Kate Kirby, Co-Director of the Institute for Theoretical, Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (ITAMP), has been appointed as the new Executive Officer of the American Physical Society (APS). The APS is the premier professional organization of more than 47,000 physicists from academia, national laboratories and industry. Her new appointment will be effective July 13.

"Dr. Kirby will bring visionary leadership and commitment to the APS," said Dr. Cherry A. Murray, APS president. "We are thrilled at her appointment. She is a distinguished physicist who deeply understands the missions and operations of APS. With the scientific taste, eloquence, and diplomatic skill she has demonstrated in her career, she will be an exceptional advocate for all of physics."

Dr. Kirby's research interests lie in theoretical atomic and molecular physics, particularly the calculation of atomic and molecular processes important in astrophysics. From 1988 – 2001, Dr. Kirby served as the Associate Director of the Atomic and Molecular Physics Division of the CfA before assuming the directorship of ITAMP in 2001. She first joined the CfA as a Harvard postdoctoral fellow in 1972 and currently holds positions as Senior Research Physicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Lecturer in the Harvard Department of Astronomy, and Senior Research Fellow of the Harvard College Observatory.

Dr. Kirby has held a number of leadership positions in the national and international physics community, including membership on the Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (2003-2009), the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Decadal Assessment Committee for Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) Science (AMO2010), and as Chair of the American Physical Society’s Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics.

While at the Center for Astrophysics, Dr. Kirby served in many capacities, including membership on the Committee of Academic Studies in the Harvard Department of Astronomy and as Chair of the CfA Library Committee, and as a member of the Smithsonian Institution's Ethics Advisory Board.

Dr. Kirby earned her bachelor's degree in chemistry and physics from Harvard/Radcliffe College in 1967 and her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1972. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.