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Catherine A. Pilachowski
Daniel Kirkwood Chair in Astronomy
Professor Pilachowski received a B.S. from Harvey Mudd College in 1971 (Physics) and a Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii in 1975 (Astronomy). She joined IU in 2001 as the inaugural Daniel Kirkwood Chair in Astronomy on the Bloomington campus.
Professor Pilachowski studies the chemical composition of stars and star clusters in the Milky Way using the technique of high resolution spectroscopy. The goal of these investigations is, first, to understand the evolution of stars and the nuclear processes in their interiors through the study of changes in surface composition as stars evolve, and, second, to determine the chemical enrichment history of the Milky Way Galaxy. Studies of the elemental abundances in old stars can reveal the nature of the first generation of stars which produced the elements in the stars we see today. In her research, Professor Pilachowski uses not only the 3.5-m WIYN Telescope, of which Indiana University holds a share, but also many other telescopes both large and small.
Professor Pilachowski served for more than 20 years on the scientific staff of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson. In addition to her astronomical research, she has been active in the areas of light pollution, astronomical instrumentation, large telescope design and construction, and electronic publications, and served as president of the American Astronomical Society from 2002-4. While on the staff of NOAO, she served as Project Scientist for the 3.5-m WIYN Telescope and as Deputy Director of the U.S. Gemini 8-m Telescope Program.