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Astronomer Sandra Moore Faber '66 to Receive Historic Franklin Award

Astronomer Sandra Moore Faber '66 to 
Receive Historic Franklin Institute Award

by Alisa Giardinelli

Sandra Moore Faber '66

Sandra Moore Faber '66

Sandra Moore Faber '66  has been chosen to receive the 2009 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. As noted in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Faber is being honored for "extraordinary advances in our knowledge of the properties of distant galaxies, dark matter, large scale structure of the Universe, and black holes in galactic nuclei; and for innovative leadership in the development of astronomical facilities."

Faber, who majored in physics at Swarthmore, also worked at the Sproul Observatory, which had a long tradition of research. "[The College] had a big effect on my personality right away," she said in a 2003 Bulletin profile.  "I met my husband at Swarthmore. I went from feeling negative about the human race to feeling positive. It taught me to like my peers."  And, as chair of the student-run colloquium committee, she also got the chance to meet top researchers in physics and astronomy. "It was Shangri-La for me," she said.

The Bower Award and Prize, which includes a gold medal and cash prize of $250,000, is among the nation's richest science prizes. The Franklin Institute Awards Program honors individuals whose great innovation has benefited humanity, advanced science, launched new fields of inquiry, and deepened the understanding of the universe.

Faber is University Professor and chair of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She will give a Department of Physics and Astronomy colloquium on Fri., Apr. 26.