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Ata Sarajedini, Ph.D., Elected American Astronomical Society Fellow

FAU's Ata Sarajedini, Ph.D., is among 21 new fellows of the American Astronomical Society, elected for his 'stellar' achievements in astrophysics.

Ata Sarajedini, Ph.D., American Astronomical Society, Fellow

Ata Sarajedini, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Physics and the Bjorn Lamborn Endowed Chair in Astrophysics in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.

Florida Atlantic University’s Ata Sarajedini, Ph.D., in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). He is among 21 members to be honored by the AAS for extraordinary achievement and service this year. AAS is an international organization of professional astronomers, astronomy educators and amateur astronomers.

This honor is bestowed on less than 0.5 percent of AAS’s membership each year. Fellows of AAS are recognized for original research and publications, innovative contributions to astronomical techniques or instrumentation, significant contributions to education and public outreach, and noteworthy service to astronomy and to the society itself.

The 2024 AAS Fellows now represent the fifth class recognized for enhancing and sharing humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe through personal achievement and extraordinary service to the astronomical sciences and to the AAS.

“The 2024 AAS Fellows’ class highlights the incredible work being done in our field, both in critical research advances and in tireless and devoted service to the community,” said Kelsey Johnson, Ph.D., AAS president and an associate professor of astronomy at the University of Virginia. “It’s a privilege to recognize the contributions of these members of our community and we are honored to have them as colleagues.”

Sarajedini was elected for his contributions to the field of resolved stellar populations as applied to the formation and evolution of star clusters and galaxies, extensive service to the astronomical community through leadership of committees, and outstanding efforts in public service such as hosting the “Astronomy Minute” podcast.

“I am incredibly proud and humbled to be recognized by my peers in the astronomy community in the United States and worldwide,” said Sarajedini. “It is an honor to join the ranks of so many talented astronomers, many of whom I have had the privilege of working with and collaborating on research endeavors.”

Sarajedini is a professor in the Department of Physics and the Bjorn Lamborn Endowed Chair in Astrophysics in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and previously served as dean of the college from 2017 to 2020. Prior to joining FAU, in 2017, he served as associate dean for natural sciences and mathematics as well as associate dean for research in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida. Before that, he was associate chair and acting chair of the Department of Astronomy in the college.

After receiving his Ph.D. in astronomy at Yale in 1992, Sarajedini spent five years as a postdoctoral researcher and a Hubble Fellow at Kitt Peak National Observatory and San Francisco State University. He spent two years at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut as an assistant professor before moving to the University of Florida in 2001. He received an NSF CAREER award in 2001, a University of Florida Research Professor award in 2006, and was the principal investigator of a large U.S. Treasury project with the Hubble Space Telescope starting in 2014.

Sarajedini has more 500 publications to his credit, which have more 16,000 citations. Of these publications, more than 200 have appeared in the peer-reviewed literature. According to Google Scholar, his Hirsch Index is 70.

Established in 1899, the AAS is a major international organization of professional astronomers, astronomy educators, and amateur astronomers. Its membership of approximately 8,000 also includes physicists, geologists, engineers, and others whose interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising the astronomical sciences. The mission of the AAS is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe as a diverse and inclusive astronomical community, which it achieves through publishing, meetings, science advocacy, education and outreach, and training and professional development.