Robert P. Kirshner is Harvard College Professor of Astronomy and Clowes Professor of Science at Harvard University. He graduated from Harvard College in 1970 and received a Ph.D. in Astronomy at Caltech. He was a postdoc at the Kitt Peak National Observatory, and was on the faculty at the University of Michigan for 9 years. In 1986, he moved to the Harvard Astronomy Department. He served as Chairman of the Department from 1990-1997 and as the head of the Optical and Infrared Division of the CfA from 1997-2003. He was Master of Quincy House, one of HarvardŐs undergraduate residences from 2001-2007. In 2007, he was on sabbatical at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara.
Professor Kirshner is an author of over 200 research papers dealing with supernovae and observational cosmology. His work with the "High-Z Supernova Team" on the acceleration of the Universe was dubbed the "Science Breakthrough of the Year for 1998" by Science Magazine. Kirshner and the High-Z Team shared in the Gruber Prize for Cosmology in 2007. A member of the Amercian Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 and the American Philosophical Society in 2004. He served as President of the American Astronomical Society from 2003-2005. Kirshner was given the Distinguished Alumni Award by Caltech in 2004.
Kirshner is a frequent public lecturer on science. He is also the teacher of Science A-35, a core curriculum course for Harvard undergraduates entitled "The Energetic Universe." His popular-level book "The Extravagant Universe: exploding stars, dark energy, and the accelerating cosmos" was published by Princeton University Press. It won the AAP Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Physics and Astronomy and was a Finalist for the 2003 Aventis Prize. The Extravagant Universe is now available in paperback and has been translated into Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, and Czech.
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