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COLLEGE STATION --

Dr. Kevin Krisciunas, instructional assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Texas A&M University, has been elected as vice chair of the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society, effective January 2019.

Established in 1899 with a mission to enhance and share humanity's scientific understanding of the universe, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. Its membership also includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers and others whose research interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising contemporary astronomy and astrophysics.

Krisciunas notes that the AAS Historical Astronomy Division -- one of six within the organization - involves itself in a number of areas, including AAS member obituaries, preservation of archives and scientific artifacts, and bringing recognition to lifetime achievements and notable books in the area of astronomy history.

"We are trying to come up with a plan for the material at Lick Observatory, Yerkes Observatory, and Mount Wilson Observatory," Krisciunas said. "Our members also can be called on as experts in the debate on science versus pseudoscience -- for example, astrology -- and 'good science' versus 'bad science,' such as the advocates for a flat Earth."

Krisciunas will serve two years as vice chair/chair-elect, followed by two years as chair, then another two years as past chair for a total of six consecutive years among the division's six-member officer group.

Krisciunas joined the Texas A&M Department of Physics and Astronomy faculty in 2006 as a member of the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy and Texas A&M Astronomy Group. An internationally recognized researcher and pioneer in the study of exploding stars, he has authored nearly 300 scientific publications, including the 2013 book, A Guide to Wider Horizons, and, along with Margaret Harshbarger, a comic opera called Total Eclipse. He was a member of the ESSENCE Project, a supernova search carried out using the 4-meter Blanco Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in La Serena, Chile. He also is working on the reduction of light curves of more nearby supernovae observed at both CTIO and the nearby Las Campanas Observatory. In addition, Krisciunas has taught approximately 4,500 undergraduates at Texas A&M, earning recognition with a 2010 Distinguished New Faculty Award from the International Academy for the Scholarship of Learning Technology.

For more information about Krisciunas and his teaching, research and service efforts, visit http://people.physics.tamu.edu/krisciunas/.

-aTm-

Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Kevin Krisciunas, (979) 845-7018 or krisciunas@physics.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. Kevin Krisciunas

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