Faculty Research Lecture focuses on the stars

By Jose Rodriguez, Development Communications



Berkeley astronomer Frank Shu

11 April 2001 | Sun-like stars and planetary systems hold clues to the beginning of our own solar system and life itself.

On Wednesday, April 18, the campus has a chance to hear this topic brought down to Earth by one of the world’s leading theoretical astrophysicists and the leading theorist in star formation.

Berkeley astronomer Frank Shu will deliver the second of this year’s prestigious Faculty Research Lectures at 5 p.m. in Wheeler Auditorium.

Shu is the Class of 1968 Professor of Astronomy and a University Professor, a title reserved for a distinguished group of faculty who teach and conduct research at more than one UC campus.

Among Shu’s contributions have been major innovations in our understanding of spiral structure in galaxies and in Saturn’s rings, the transfer of mass in binary star systems, the formation of stars and the origin of the solar system.

In recent years he has looked at the geochemical composition of meteorites, in search of clues to the early history of the solar system.

Shu served as councilor, vice president, and president of the American Astronomical Society and received its Warner and Brouwer Awards. The American Institute of Physics has recognized his work with the Heineman Prize for Astrophysics.

Born in Kunming, China, in 1943, he went on to receive his Ph.D. in theoretical astrophysics from Harvard University in 1968. He taught at State University of New York at Stony Brook from 1968 to 1973, when he moved to Berkeley. He was chair of the Department of Astronomy at Berkeley from 1984 to 1988 and is the author of three well-regarded textbooks on astronomy.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Academia Sinica, Shu counts among his research interests spiral galaxies, interacting binary stars, planetary rings, the formation of stars and planets, and meteorites.


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