Chris Impey


Chris Impey is University Distinguished Professor at the University of Arizona. As Deputy Head of Department and the Academic Head, he runs the nation's largest undergraduate majors program in astronomy, and the second largest Ph.D. program. His research interests center in observational cosmology, gravitational lensing, and the evolution and structure of galaxies. He’s had over 160 refereed publications and 60 published conference proceedings. His research has been supported by $18 million in grants from NASA and the National Science Foundation, and he has had 24 projects approved and given time on astronomy's premier research facility, the Hubble Space Telescope. As a professor, he has taught astronomy to over 4500 students and has won eleven teaching awards at the University of Arizona. He has pioneered curriculum development in astrobiology, and is the PI on a major four-year grant from the Templeton Foundation that explores issues at the interface of science and religion. He gives about a dozen public talks per year, and has been a Harlow Shapley Lecturer for the American Astronomical Society for ten years. Working with planetary scientist Bill Hartmann, he co-authored two introductory textbooks that have sold over 100,000 copies. He has written more than thirty popular articles on cosmology and astrobiology. He is the creator of the Astronomica web site, which supports non-science majors, and he’s taught parts of his classes in the 3D virtual world called Second Life. He has an Internet startup called “Student on the Go.” Impey is a past Vice President of the American Astronomical Society and has served on its Executive Council and its Astronomy Education Board. His web design and curriculum projects have been supported by both NASA and the National Science Foundation. In 2001 he was named University Distinguished Professor; in 2005 he was honored as Galileo Circle Scholar, the College of Science's highest honor. He was named as 2005 Arizona Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Council for the Improvement of Teaching, and was one of only six people nationwide named Distinguished Teaching Scholar by the NSF. In 2007, he was one of ten lecturers in Phi Beta Kappa’s Visiting Scholar Program. He recently was a co-chair of the Education and Public Outreach Study Group for the Astronomy Decadal Survey of the National Academy of Sciences. Impey is a 2009 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In addition to his two textbooks, Impey is currently writing a book of interviews with astrobiologists for Cambridge University Press, and he recently received a $250,000 grant from NASA to write up a history of U.S. space science and astronomy missions. His first popular science book, titled “The Living Cosmos,” on astrobiology, was published late in 2007 by Random House. His second, “How It Ends,” was published in 2010 by Norton.

EDUCAUSE Publications

EDUCAUSE Presentations