JHI academic star lands prestigious international role

A leading astrophysicist from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has been elected to a prestigious position within the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

UCLan’s Professor Cristina Popescu from the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute, School of Natural Sciences, is to lead one of the IAU’s largest divisions: ‘Divison J: Galaxies and Cosmology’.

In accordance with the IAU rules, Professor Popescu will take on a six-year term; three years as the division’s vice-president between 2021-2024 before becoming president for the 2024-2027 term.

Commenting on the prestigious honour, UCLan’s Professor of Astrophysics said: “I am very excited to take on this new challenge because it really chimes with my aspiration of promoting academic interdisciplinarity and links between different astrophysical communities. Through these new roles I will be able to reach a broad spectrum of professional astronomers from across the world with shared research interests in galaxies and cosmology.”

The election of Professor Popescu to one of the most prestigious positions within the IAU reflects her international reputation and world leading profile. The UCLan academic already holds a similar six-year term through the IAU’s Commission J1: ‘The spectral energy distribution of galaxies’ a specialised field of research which she has pioneered and developed during her career.

The IAU is the leading organisation for professional astronomers from across the world who are active in professional research, education and astronomy outreach at PhD level and beyond.

Founded in 1919, the IAU has 12205 current members from over 90 countries, its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation.