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Image gallery of 12 globular clusters ranked in order of increasing dynamical age as measured from the observed radial distribution of their blue straggler stars. Credit: F. Ferraro (UniBO)

Sigurdsson elected as Fellow of the American Physical Society

15 October 2021
Sigurdsson wearing suit against red background
Steinn Sigurdsson, professor of astronomy and astrophysics. Image provided

Steinn Sigurdsson, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the largest physics organization in the world. He was elected “for contributions to theoretical astrophysics, including work on compact object binaries and the dynamical evolution of dense stellar systems, gravitational radiation sources, and aspects of extrasolar planets."

The APS Fellowship Program recognizes members who have made advances in knowledge through original research and publication, have made significant and innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology, or who have made significant contributions to the teaching of physics or to service opportunities and activities of the society. Each year the society elects no more than one-half of one percent of its then-current membership to the status of Fellow in the American Physical Society.

Sigurdsson’s research covers a range of topics, including cosmology, large scale dynamics and black holes, formation and evolution of planets, and the prospects for discovering non-terrestrial life. He is a member of the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos, the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, and the Astrobiology Research Center at Penn State and the Penn State Extraterrestrial Intelligence Center (PSETI).

Sigurdsson has been a member of the board of the Aspen Center for Physics since 2010 and served as a trustee of the center from 2015 to 2021. He has served as science editor of the Astrophysical Journal since 2012 and was appointed the Scientific Director of arXiv, an open-access archive for scholarly articles, in 2017. 

Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State in 1998, Sigurdsson was a research fellow at Cambridge University in England from 1994 to 1998 and a visiting research fellow at the University of California at Santa Cruz from 1991 to 1994. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematical physics from the University of Sussex in England in 1986 and a master’s and doctoral degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1988 and 1991, respectively.