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Carleton Convocation Explores The Universe

January 19, 2014

Renowned astronomer Dr. Sidney Wolff, a member of the Carleton Class of 1962, will present the College’s weekly convocation on Friday, Jan. 24 from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. Entitled “Exploring New Worlds,” Wolff’s presentation is free and open to the public. Convocations are also streamed live and can be viewed online at

Wolff’s numerous achievements make her one of the most respected astronomers today. She has served a series of directorships, including those at Kitt Peak National Observatory (1984-1987), the Gemini Project (1992-1994), and the National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO; 1987-2001). It was the directorship of NOAO that had Wolff recognized as the first woman to direct a major U.S. observatory.

Wolff served as president of the American Astronomical Society (1992-1994) and of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (1984-1986), and she has also been involved with the National Research Council since 1981, including as chair of the task group addressing the NASA’s space mission.

Well known for her commitment to science education, Wolff is the founding editor of Astronomy Education Review, and the author of more than 200 internationally recognized scientific contributions and the coauthor of two widely used introductory level astronomy textbooks, Abell’s Exploration of the Universe (1995) and Voyages Through the Universe (2003).

Wolff is the recipient of the American Astronomical Society Education Prize in 2006 and the Meritorious Public Service Award from the National Science Foundation in 1994. She also has a vista point in Chile named after her; Vista Sidney Wolff is a tribute to her leadership in construction of the SOAR and Gemini telescopes in the Andes.

Wolff was awarded a BS degree in astronomy from Carleton College in 1962 and a PhD in astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1966.

This event is sponsored by the Carleton College Office of College Relations. For more information, including disability accommodations, please call (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located on First Street, between College and Winona Streets, in Northfield.

Written by Scarlet Park '16