David J. Helfand

David J. Helfand, a faculty member at Columbia University for 43 years, served nearly half of that time as Chair of the Department of Astronomy.

He is the author of over 200 scientific publications and has mentored 22 PhD students, but most of his pedagogical efforts have been aimed at teaching science to non-science majors. He instituted the first change in Columbia’s famed Core Curriculum in 50 years by introducing the course Frontiers of Science, now required for all first-year students. In 2005, he joined an effort to create Canada’s first independent, non-profit university, Quest University Canada, where he served as President & Vice-Chancellor from 2008-2015. He also recently completed a four-year term as President of the American Astronomical Society, and is currently Chair of the American Institute of Physics, as well as Treasurer for Science Counts, an organization he helped found to communicate with the public about the importance and impact of publicly funded research. His first book, “A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age” appeared, appropriately, in 2016. In addition to 50 years as a radio astronomy practitioner who has used all of AUI’s facilities, he brings to the Corporation management experience with a variety of non-profit organizations.

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