Wallace Leslie William Sargent

Born 15 February 1935 Elsham, Lincolnshire, UK. Citizenship: US (naturalized) and UK.

Married 1964-Anneila Isabel Cassells (B.Sc., Hon. D. Sc. (Edinburgh); M.S.; Ph.D. (Caltech)) of Burntisland (see "Personalities"), Fife, Scotland.

Children: Lindsay Eleanor (Berg) (born July 8, 1970), Alison Clare (Hubbs) (born January 25, 1972).


Astronomy Department 249-17, California Institute of Technology , Pasadena , CA 91125

Telephone: (626) 395 4055 (Office) : (626) 795 6345 (Home); (626) 688 9357 (Mobile)

Telefax: (626) 568 9352

Email: wws"at"


Winterton, Lincolnshire, Primary School 1940-1946 (Barratt Prize for Scripture 1946).

Scunthorpe Technical High School 1946-53 (first pupil to go to a University).

Manchester University: B.Sc. Hons. Physics 1956, M.Sc. (Astrophysics) 1957, Ph.D. 1959 (Adviser F. D. Kahn*).

*Franz Kahn's adviser for his Ph D in mathematics at Oxford University was Sydney Chapman, the distinguished mathematician and atmospheric physicist. Chapman's adviser at Cambridge was G. H. Hardy the celebrated mathematician who brought Ramanujan to England. Hardy never got a Ph D but was advised in graduate school at Cambridge by E.T Whitaker and A. E. H. Love. I find it ironic, given my abilities, that my academic ancestors were mathematicians. On the other hand, Chapman came from Eccles in Lancashire, spoke with a northern accent like me, and attended Manchester University before going to Cambridge. (During a visit to Caltech in 1950-51 Chapman and his wife cycled along the Pasadena and Hollywood Freeways to keep a social engagement since, though notices forbad motorcyclists and pedestrians, they forgot to mention pedal cyclists.)


Research Fellow in Astronomy, California Institute of Technology 1959-1962.

Senior Research Fellow, Royal Greenwich Observatory 1962-1964.

Assistant Professor of Physics, University of California, San Diego 1964-1966.

Assistant Professor of Astronomy, California Institute of Technology 1966-1968; Associate Professor 1968-71; Professor 1971-81.

Executive Officer for Astronomy 1975-81 and 1996-97.

Director, Palomar Observatory 1997-2000.

Ira S. Bowen Professor of Astronomy 1981-.

Honors and Awards:

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow 1968-1970.

Helen B. Warner Prize , American Astronomical Society 1969.

Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1977.

Princeton University Spring Lecturer in Astronomy 1979.

Fellow, Royal Society 1981.

George Darwin Lecturer , Royal Astronomical Society 1987.

Director's Distinguished Lecturer, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory 1988.

Dannie Heineman Prize , American Astronomical Society and American Institute of Physics 1991.

Miller Visiting Professor , U.C. Berkeley 1993.

Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal , Astronomical Society of the Pacific , 1994

Thomas Gold Lecturer, Cornell University, 1995.

Sackler Distinguished Lecturer, Harvard U. 1995.

Sackler Prize Lecturer, U.C. Berkeley, 1996.

Associate, Royal Astronomical Society , 1998.

Henry Norris Russell Lecturer, American Astronomical Society , 2001.

Icko Iben Lecturer, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, 2002.

Vice-President, American Astronomical Society , 2004-7.

Member, National Academy of Sciences , 2005.

Asteroid 11758 Sargent , named after, 2006

Medal of the Institut d'Astrophysique , Paris 2009

Visiting Fellow:

Mount Stromlo Observatory , Australian National University 1965, 1967.

Institute of Theoretical Astronomy, Cambridge University 1968-72, Institute of Astronomy , 1974, 75, 1979, 1982, 1987.

Department of Astrophysics , Oxford University 1973.

Kapteyn Laboratory, University of Groningen 1978.

European Southern Observatory , Geneva 1980, Munich 1983, 1985.

Arcetri Observatory , University of Florence 1981, 2000

Institut d'Astrophysique , Paris 1984.

Royal Observatory, Edinburgh 1990.

Max-Planck-Institut fuer Astronomie , Heidelberg 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997.

University of California, Berkeley , 1993.

Sterrewacht, Leiden University , 2005


Member, Northern Hemisphere Review Committee (U.K. SRC) 1968-69.

Member, University of Arizona Astronomy Visiting Committee 1970-73.

Member, Committee on Space Astronomy and Astrophysics (National Academy of Sciences) 1975-78.

Member, Study Group for Space Telescope Science Institute (National Academy of Sciences) 1976.

Member, Time Assignment Committee, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory 1976-79 and 1990-92.

Member, Editorial Board, Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics 1977-81.

Member, Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii Visiting Committee 1978.

Member, Harvard College Observatory Visiting Committee 1979-1986.

Trustee: Universities Research Associates 1980-82.

Member, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Board 1983-91.

Member, Science Steering Committee, Keck Observatory 1985-2000; (Co-Chairman, 1985-89 and 1990-93).

Member, Visiting Committee in Astrophysics, Stanford University 1986.

Member, Visiting Committee, Mount Wilson and Las Campanas Observatories 1987.

Member, Visiting Committee, Astronomy Program, State University of New York at Stony Brook 1987.

Chairman, Visiting Committee, Harvard College Observatory 1987-93.

Member, Visiting Committee, Astronomy Dept., U. C. Berkeley, 1988.

Member, Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee, National Academy of Sciences 1989-91. (Co-Chairman Optical/IR Panel).

Member, Visiting Committee, Space Telescope Science Institute, 1989-91.

Member, Space Telescope Advisary Committee, 1990-91.

Chair, Hubble Fellowship Committee, STScI, 1990.

Chair, Quasars and AGN Panel, Hubble Space Telescope TAC, 1992.

Member, Visiting Committee, Astronomy Program, U. C. Santa Cruz, 1993.

Member, Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington Visiting Committee 1998

Member, AURA Coordinating Committee of Observatory Research Directors, 1996-2000

Member, Board of Directors, California Association for Research in Astronomy, 1997-2000

Caltech Member Representative AURA, 1995-2001

Member, Fachbeirat, Max-Planck-Institut fuer extraterrestriche Physik, Garching, Germany, 1993-2000.

Member, AURA Gemini Oversight Committee 1997- 2003

Member, Committee on the Status of Women, American Astronomical Society 1998-2001 and 2007-10

Member, Steering Committee, California Extremely Large Telescope 1999-2002 (co-chair, 1999-2000)

Member, Hubble Space Telescope Cycle 10 TAC (Chair, ExGAL-4 Panel), 2000

Member, Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) Science Center Oversight Committee 2000- 2003

Member, MIT Center for Space Research Advisory Committee, 2003-9

Member, Kavli Astrophysics Prize Committee 2006-2008

Current Committees:

Member, Russell Lectureship Committee, American Astronomical Society 2009-2011

Professional Affiliations:

Royal Society , National Academy of Sciences , American Academy of Arts and Sciences , American Astronomical Society , Royal Astronomical Society , Astronomical Society of the Pacific , International Astronomical Union .

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page by Wallace Sargent, last updated July 14, 2009