News - McMaster professor to join JHU Society of Scholars
I am a theoretical astrophysicist and my research focuses on star and
planet formation. I completed my undergraduate studies at UBC in
physics. I then moved to the University of Toronto for my M. Sc. (in
theoretical physics). I returned to UBC to do my Ph.D. in astrophysics under the supervision of Greg Fahlman, completing it in 1980. I took up an
NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge
(England). I went on to further postdoctoral research with Chris McKee
and Jon Arons at the Astronomy Dept. at Berkeley, and with Colin Norman at the Johns Hopkins University.
I joined the
faculty at McMaster in 1986. Research Leaves and Fellowships over the
subsequent years have taken me to many outstanding research centres
including the Observatoire de Grenoble (1988, 1992), the Max-Planck Inst.
for Astronomy in Heidelberg (1993), the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for
Astrophysics (1993), the Max-Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Munich
(1997), the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA) in
Toronto (1990 and 1997), Caltech (2001), and the Kavli Institute for
Theoretical Physics (KITP) in Santa Barbara (2007/08).
I have been involved in many aspects of Canadian as well as international
astronomy and astrophysics, having served on Time Allocation Committees
(CFHT and JCMT), NRC Science Advisory Committees (Gemini, JWST), Visiting
Committees (U.S. NRAO), Advisory Boards (HIA, CITA Council), and review
committees. I chaired Canada's decadal survey of Astronomy and
Astrophysics - the NRC-NSERC Long Range Planning Panel (1998/2000) - and
was the principal author of the LRP report; "The Origins of Structure in the Universe". The LRP is playing the central role in guiding the
development of Canadian astronomy in this decade and beyond, having
involved Canada in ALMA, JWST, TMT, SKA, and several other important space
and ground based telescopes and observatories.
Most recently, I spear-headed and am the founding (2004) Director of
McMaster's Origins Institute (OI). Its scientific mission is to engage in
fundamental transdisciplinary research on the origin of structure and life
in the cosmos. The scientific themes of the OI cover 6 broad themes in
science: the origin of space and time (cosmology, early universe),
structure in the universe (planets, stars and galaxies), the elements,
life (astrobiology), species and biodiversity, and humanity. In addition
to its research foci, the OI has developed a novel OI Undergraduate Research specialization. The OI is committed to public outreach and
education through its award winning OI Public Lecture series and played an
important role in the creation of the McMaster 3D theatre. The OI has also
run major international annual scientific conferences on some of the most
important questions in contemporary science.