Jay M. Pasachoff

Director of the Hopkins Observatory; Chair, Astronomy Department; Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy
at Williams since 1972

Jay Pasachoff at Podium. Credit: Astronomical Society of the Pacific


Bronx High School of Science    H.S. 1959

Harvard College                         A.B. 1963

Harvard University                     A.M. 1965

Harvard University                     Ph.D. 1969

Harvard College Observatory    postdoc 1969-70

Caltech                                     postdoc 1970-72

2003 Education Prize, American Astronomical Society
2003 Honorary Member, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
2003-2006 President, Commission on Education and Development of the International Astronomical Union current Chair, Working Group on Solar Eclipses
2012 Janssen Medal, Société Astronomique de France
2013-15 Chair, Historical Astronomy Division, American Astronomical Society; 2013-15, Chair; 2015-17 Past Chair
2017 Richtmeyer Memorial Lecture Award, American Association of Physics Teachers
2019 Klumpke-Roberts Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific  
2020  Legacy Fellow of the American Astronomical Society

2022 Fellow of Sigma Xi

Sabbatical and Other Leaves

Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii                   1980-81, 1984-85

Institut d’Astrophysique, Paris                                        1988

Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton                         1989-90

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics                1993-4

Harvard University   Visiting Lecturer in Astronomy         1993-4

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory                          Visiting Scientist 1993-4

Harvard University: Associate of the Astronomy Dept.    Smithsonian Astrophysical                                                                                                   Observatory: Visiting Scientist                                                                                               2001-2

California Institute of Technology                                   2008-9, Fall 2012, Spring 2016

Carnegie Observatories, Pasadena                               Spring 2019

Visiting Scientist Appointments, Not in Residence

California Institute of Technology                                                       2010-2011

California Institute of Technology Auxiliary Appointment, Visitor          Fall 2012-2013,                                                                                                                    2014-17

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory                                             2009-2012


Officer and Committee Member:

President, Commission 46 (Astronomy Education and Development) of the International Astronomical Union (2003-2006); Retiring President (2003-2006); U.S. National Liaison to the Commission and its predecessor, The Teaching of Astronomy, (197-)

Chair, Working Group on Solar Eclipses of the International Astronomical Union, Division C Education, Outreach and Heritage and Division E Sun and Heliosphere

Member, Johannes Kepler Working Group, IAU Commission 41 (now C.C3) on the History of Astronomy 

Member, IAU Division C Commission C1 (C.C1) Working Group, Theory and Methods in Astronomy Education

Member, IAU Division C Commission C1 (C.C1) Working Group, Network for Astronomy School Education

Past Chair, Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society (2015-17); Chair (2013-2015)

Organizing Committee, International Astronomical Union C.C3 on the History of Astronomy (2015-2018)

IAU Working Group on Star Names (2016–), Division C Education, Outreach and Heritage

Former Chair, Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society (2013-15)

Executive Committee Working Group (EC-WG) of the IAU; Public Naming of Planets and Planetary Satellites (2016-); IAU Working Group on Star Names (2016-)

Contact Information

Office: Thompson Physical Laboratory 115, 33 Lab Campus Drive, Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267-2565
Phone: (413) 597-2105
Fax: (413) 597-3200
Home Phone: (413) 458-8346
Cell Phone: (617) 285-6351
E-mail: [email protected]

73 past solar eclipse expeditions as of 2021

for the Working Group on Eclipses of the International Astronomical Union

for Cambridge University Press Web pages for his text

For the most recent edition, also from Cambridge University Press, Published May 2019

Transit of Mercury Information

for a list of his published books and links to their availability


Pasachoff, Jay M., and Spencer R. Weart, 1974, “Creation of the Universe: A Modest Proposal” (a parody), Journal of Irreproducible Results, 1973; reprinted in Theology Today 31 (2), 161, July 1974. Later anthologized in More Random Walks in Science (R. L. Weber, ed.), CRC Press, 1982.  Also included in Pasachoff, Contemporary Astronomy.


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