Wendy Freedman to receive Heineman Prize for Astrophysics

Prof. Wendy Freedman will receive the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, which recognizes outstanding mid-career work in astrophysics.

Established in 1979, the Heineman Prize is awarded jointly by the American Institute of Physics and the American Astronomical Society.

Freedman, the John and Marion Sullivan University Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics, was cited “for her outstanding contributions and leadership role in using optical and infrared space- and ground-based observations of Cepheid stars, together with innovative analysis techniques, to greatly improve the accuracy of the cosmic distance scale and thereby constrain fundamental cosmological parameters.”

Freedman focuses her research on measuring both the current and past expansion rates of the universe, and on characterizing the nature of dark energy—the mysterious force that causes the universe to accelerate its expansion. She served as chair of the board of directors of the Giant Magellan Telescope project from its inception in 2003 until 2015. The telescope, which has entered its construction phase and is expected to become fully operational by 2024, will be able to produce images 10 times sharper than those of the Hubble Space Telescope.