Saturday, June 4, 2022
By tradition, the Convocation Address is given by a member of the faculty of the University.
Wendy Freedman is John and Marion Sullivan University Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the College. Among her scientific achievements, Professor Freedman led the team that made a landmark measurement in 2001 of the Hubble constant, the rate at which the universe is expanding. In 2019, her team announced a new measurement of the Hubble constant, raising new questions about the physics of the universe. She led the initiative to build the 25-meter Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), now under construction in the Chilean Andes. When completed, the GMT is poised to be one of the world’s largest optical telescopes, capable of exploring the cosmos with unprecedented clarity and sensitivity. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Astronomical Society, and the American Physical Society, and has been recognized for her contributions to observational cosmology as a recipient of the Magellanic Premium, the Gruber Cosmology Prize, and the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, among other awards. Professor Freedman’s research interests are directed at measuring both the current and past expansion rate of the universe, and characterizing the nature of dark energy, which is causing the expansion rate to accelerate.