Dr. Kirby Succeeds Franz as APS Executive Officer

Judy and Kate for chq web
Photo by Ken Cole


Judy Franz (left) and Kate Kirby at headquarters of the American Physical Society

Kate Kirby of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, is the new Executive Officer of the APS, succeeding Judy Franz, who retired after serving in the position for 15 years. Kirby oversees the day-to-day operations at the APS headquarters in College Park, Md.  

She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry and physics from Harvard/Radcliffe College in 1967 and her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1972. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard College Observatory (1972-73), she was appointed as Research Physicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Lecturer in the Harvard University Department of Astronomy (1973-1986 and 2003-2009). She was also a Senior Research Fellow of the Harvard College Observatory. From 1988 to 2001, she served as an Associate Director at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, heading the Atomic and Molecular Physics Division. In 2001, she was appointed Director of the National Science Foundation-funded Harvard-Smithsonian Institute for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (ITAMP).

Her research interests lie in theoretical atomic and molecular physics, particularly the calculation of atomic and molecular processes important in astrophysics and atmospheric physics. In 1990, she was elected to Fellowship in the APS. Among her other activities: serving on the Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (2003-2008) and as co-chair of the BESAC Subcommittee on Theory and Computation. She has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Decadal Assessment Committee for Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) Science (AMO2010), and Chair of the International Conference on Photonic, Electronic, and Atomic Collisions (2001-2003).

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