AUSTIN, Texas — The 6,500 scientist members of the
American Astronomical Society have elected University
of Texas astronomer J. Craig Wheeler as their next
president. Wheeler is the Samuel T. and Fern Yanagisawa
Regents Professor of Astronomy at UT-Austin.

Established 1899, the American Astronomical Society
(AAS) is the major organization of professional
astronomers in North America. The basic objective of
the AAS is to promote the advancement of astronomy and
closely related branches of science.

“I’m honored and pleased to take on this office and
I’m looking forward to leading a very healthy and
vibrant Society,” Wheeler said. “Current issues facing
the Society are the fate of the Hubble Space Telescope
and integrating astronomical research with the goal of
sending humans to the Moon and Mars.”

Wheeler will be installed as President-Elect at the
Society’s June meeting in Minneapolis. Then in June
2006, he will become President and hold the office for
two years. Following that, he will serve another year
as Past President.

Wheeler received a BS in physics from MIT in 1965 and a
PhD in physics from the University of Colorado in 1969.
His research interests include supernovae, black holes,
gamma-ray bursts and astrobiology, and he heads the
Supernova Research Group at UT-Austin. He has published
about 300 papers in refereed journals and conference
proceedings, edited five books, and published a
popular-level book, Cosmic Catastrophes: Supernovae,
Gamma-Ray Bursts and Adventures in Hyperspace (Cambridge
University Press 2000).

Wheeler also currently serves on the Space Studies Board
of the National Research Council (NRC) and is co-Chair
of the NRC Committee on the Origin and Evolution of Life.
He is a member of the University of Texas Academy of
Distinguished Teachers.