Emeriti

Debra M. Elmegreen, PhD

Professor Emerita of Astronomy
(1985–2022)
Debra Elmegreen

Debra Meloy Elmegreen, Professor Emerita of Astronomy, was Professor of Astronomy on the Maria Mitchell Chair from 1994-2022 after joining the faculty in 1985. Debra served as Chair of FPCC and Observer to the Board of Trustees, on the Master Planning Committee, and on several other College committees, in addition to serving as Department Chair for a total of 10 years.

She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University (the first female to major in astrophysics) and a PhD in Astronomy from Harvard University, and was a Carnegie Observatories Postdoctoral Fellow (the first female to hold this position).

Her research is on the structure and evolution of galaxies at optical, infrared, and radio wavelengths. She enjoys observing with the Hubble Space Telescope and now with the James Webb Space Telescope. She had 78 research students and co-authored 50 papers with them, and wrote a textbook on galaxies. Upon retirement, she had an h-index of 63 and nearly 14,000 citations of her 350 refereed papers and conferences papers.

Debra is President of the International Astronomical Union (IAU; the first U.S. female to hold this position in its 103 year history) and Past President of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), Past Chair of the Board for the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), and Past Chair of the Astronomy section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She received the national George van Biesbroeck Prize for service to astronomy, and is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Legacy Fellow of the American Astronomical Society.

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