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Jay Myron Pasachoff (born 1943) is an Americanmarker astronomer. Pasachoff is Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College and the author of textbooks and tradebooks in astronomy, physics, mathematics, and other sciences.

Biography

Pasachoff studied at Harvardmarker, receiving his bachelor's degree in 1963, his master's degree in 1965, and his doctorate in 1969. He worked at the Harvard College Observatorymarker and Caltechmarker before going to Williams College in 1972. His sabbaticals and other leaves have been at the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy, the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, the Institute for Advanced Studymarker in Princeton, New Jerseymarker, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysicsmarker, and most recently at Caltechmarker.

Work

Pasachoff observes with a wide variety of ground-based telescopes and spacecraft, and reports on those activities in writing his texts. Pasachoff is especially known for his scientific work at total solar eclipses. The July 22, 2009, solar eclipse was his 49nd. His research has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, NASAmarker, and the National Geographic Societymarker. He is Chair of the Working Group on Eclipses of the International Astronomical Union and of a Program Group on Public Education at the Times of Solar Eclipses. His solar work also includes studies of the solar chromosphere, backed by NASA grants, using NASA spacecraft and the Swedish Solar Telescope on La Palmamarker, Canary Islandsmarker, Spainmarker. He has collaborated with a professor of art history, Roberta J. M. Olson of the New-York Historical Societymarker, on astronomical images in the art of Renaissance Italy and of Great Britainmarker.

Pasachoff received the 2003 Education Prize of the American Astronomical Society, "For his eloquent and informative writing of textbooks from junior high through college, For his devotion to teaching generations of students, For sharing with the world the joys of observing eclipses, For his many popular books and articles on astronomy, For his intense advocacy on behalf of science education in various forums, For his willingness to go into educational nooks where no astronomer has gone before, the AAS Education Prize is awarded to Jay M. Pasachoff." Asteroid 5100 Pasachoff recognizes Pasachoff's astronomical accomplishments. In addition to his college astronomy texts, Pasachoff has written a field guide to the stars and planets, and is author or coauthor of textbooks in calculus and in physics, as well as several junior-high-school textbooks.

He is a collaborator, backed by NASA grants, with a group of scientists from Williams College and MITmarker observing the atmospheres of outer planets and their moons, including Pluto, its moon Charon, Neptune’s moon Triton, and other objects in the outer solar system. He also makes radio astronomy observations of the interstellar medium, concentrating on deuterium and its cosmological implications.

Pasachoff has been active in educational and curriculum matters. He is U.S. National Liaison to and was President (20032006) of the Commission on Education and Development of the International Astronomical Union, has twice been Chair of the Astronomy Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has been on the astronomy committees of the American Astronomical Society (and its representative 2004-2010 to the AAAS), the American Physical Society, and the American Association of Physics Teachers. He is on the Council of Advisors of the Astronomy Education Review. He has spearheaded a discussion of what should be taught in astronomy courses, championing the position of including and emphasizing contemporary astronomy. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the International Planetarium Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Royal Astronomical Society, and he has held a Getty Fellowship. He has lectured widely, including a stint as a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer. He is also Director of the Hopkins Observatory and past and future (2010-2013) Chair of the Astronomy Department at Williams.

Selected publications

  • The Solar Corona, 2nd Edition, co-authored with Leon Golub (Cambridge University Press, 2009) ISBN 978-0521882019)
  • Innovation in Astronomy Education, co-edited with Rosa M. Ros and Naomi Pasachoff (Cambridge University Press, 2008) ISBN 978-0521880152
  • Peterson Field Guide to the Stars and Planets (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) ISBN 978-0395934319
  • Teaching and Learning of Astronomy: Effective Strategies for Educators Worldwide, co-edited with John Percy (Cambridge University Press, 2005) ISBN 052184262X
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Sun (Alpha Books, 2003) ISBN 1592570747
  • Nearest Star: The Exciting Science of Our Sun, co-authored with Leon Golub (Harvard University Press, 2001) ISBN 978-0674004672
  • The Teaching of Astronomy, co-edited with John Percy (Cambridge University Press; Reprint edition, 1992) ISBN 978-0521842624
  • Fire in the Sky: Comets and Meteors, the Decisive Centuries, in British Art and Science, co-authored with Roberta J. M. Olson (Cambridge University Press, 1998) ISBN 978-0521663595
  • Earth Science, co-authored with Naomi Pasachoff, and Tim Cooney (Scott, Foresman, 1990) ISBN 067342183X
  • Physical Science, co-authored with Naomi Pasachoff and Tim Cooney (Scott Foresman, 1990) ISBN 0673421848


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