From Vassar to the Cosmos: A Conversation with Astrophysicist John Carlstrom ’81

8:00–9:15 pm VIrtual Fireside Chat


The Alumnae/i Association of Vassar College (AAVC) presents “From Vassar to the Cosmos: A Conversation with MacArthur ‘Genius’ Astrophysicist John Carlstrom ’81,” a virtual fireside chat with 2020 Alumnae/i Distinguished Achievement Award recipient, January 21, 2021, 8:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m., via Zoom.

John Carlstrom, the Subramanyan Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor, Departments of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics, EFI, and the College, is the recipient of the 2020 Alumnae/i Association of Vassar College (AAVC) Distinguished Achievement Award.

Prof. Carlstrom (Vassar '81) will discuss his life and work as part of a virtual fireside chat moderated by Debra Elmegreen, Professor of Astronomy on the Maria Mitchell Chair, and Vassar student Emily Frank, class of 2021, on January 21.

Carlstrom, who majored in physics at Vassar and earned a PhD in physics from the University of California, Berkley, chairs the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1996. His truly staggering list of professional honors and accolades includes a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, the Gruber Cosmology Prize from Yale University, election to the National Academy of Sciences, and a NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal.

The MacArthur Foundation noted that Carlstrom “solves astronomical problems with instruments of his own design and construction” and that his devices have allowed astrophysicists to investigate the role of magnetism in star formation and have also led to more accurate measurements of the rate of cosmic expansion. The Gruber Foundation cited Carlstrom for work that “led to the discovery of hundreds of clusters of galaxies going back to when the universe was about one-third its present age, providing a history of the growth of the large-scale structure of the universe.”

Event Type

Broad Audience

Jan 21