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Dr. Wendy Freedman, the Crawford Greenewalt Chair and Director of the Carnegie Observatories will become the first University Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. She joins an elite group of only 7 University Professors at Chicago and one of only 20 in the history of the University.
"Wendy has been an inspirational scientist and leader during her 30 year tenure at the Carnegie Observatories." said Steve Shectman of Carnegie. "Her scientific work, particularly on establishing an accurate value for the rate of the cosmological expansion and the age of the universe, has become one of the foundations of modern cosmology, a subject in which the University of Chicago is a world leader. While we will miss her, we are excited for her as she enters this new phase of her career and we wish her continued success. She leaves Carnegie Observatories even stronger than it was when she became director 12 years ago and we are extremely grateful for her service."
"It is bittersweet to leave Carnegie, my scientific home for 30 years. Being the director has been an incredible opportunity and challenge and I am looking forward to devoting more energy to active scientific life" said Freedman.
Following the example of the Carnegie Observatories’ founding director, George Ellery Hale, who successively built three of the world’s largest telescopes during the first part of the 20th century, Freedman has led the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) Project, the effort to construct a new 25-meter class telescope at Carnegie's Las Campanas Observatory, for more than a decade. She will continue to lead the project as chair of the GMT Board of Directors in her new position at the University of Chicago.
Dr. John Mulchaey, a world renowned expert in x-ray astronomy who has made pioneering contributions to the field of galaxy formation and evolution and is a 20-year veteran of the Carnegie Institution will be Acting Director while a new Director is selected. "Wendy leaves us in an incredibly strong position at the Observatories. Her leadership and presence will be missed, but we wish her the very best in this new adventure" He said "She has had such an important impact on the culture of the Observatories that she will always be part of this institution."