2016 Yale Science & Engineering Association Award for Meritorious Service to Yale University
Claudia Megan Urry, Ph.D.
Israel Munson Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Director, Yale Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics
President, American Astronomical Society
Member, National Academy of Sciences
Professor “Meg” Urry has always been a star. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she earned her undergraduate degree from Tufts and graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins. Professor Urry continued at MIT for her postdoctoral studies. From MIT, she served as a senior astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which runs the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA. She joined the Yale faculty in 2001 and became the Chair of Physics in 2007, a position she held until 2013.
As the Director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Professor Urry studies so-called active galaxies, which have unusually bright cores that contain super-massive black holes. These are very strange and exotic objects which require acute scientific and mathematical skills as well as a vivid imagination to perceive. Professor Urry has these qualities and more.
She is a prolific and highly cited author. She was recently recognized for her academic achievements with her election to the National Academy of Sciences. Her influence does not end with scientific journals and her academic peers.
Professor Urry is a highly regarded mentor for her students at Yale. Always willing to experiment, she has been instrumental in revising and improving pedagogical models in Physics and Astronomy at Yale and beyond. In addition, she serves as a role model for women around the world who struggle to advance in Science and Engineering, both academically and professionally. She has been active in creating and sustaining the international movement to raise awareness of gender issues in Science education and in Industry. Her ongoing efforts in support of gender equality have placed her and Yale on the world stage as agents of positive change.
For her work to elevate and expand Astronomy at Yale, and for her tireless efforts in support of women in Science and Engineering at Yale and around the globe, we are proud to honor Professor Claudia Megan Urry as the 2016 recipient of the Yale Science & Engineering Association Award for Meritorious Service to Yale University.