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AAS Names Fred Rasio Next Editor of The Astrophysical Journal Letters

16 Dec 2011

AAS Press Release

December 16, 2011

Media Contacts:
Rick Fienberg / Megan Fellman
AAS Press Officer / Northwestern University
+1 202-328-2010 x116 / +1 847-491-3115

** Additional contacts are listed below. **

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has named Frederic A. Rasio of Northwestern University as the next editor of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Rasio will succeed Christopher Sneden (University of Texas, Austin), who plans to retire from the position at the end of 2012 after 10 years of service.

Begun in 1895 by George Ellery Hale and James E. Keeler, The Astrophysical Journal ("ApJ") is the world's foremost peer-reviewed research journal devoted to new developments, discoveries, and theories in astronomy and astrophysics. Many of the most significant astronomical advances of the 20th and early 21st centuries were first reported in the Journal. The Letters section ("ApJLett") was created in 1967 by then-editor Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar to facilitate the rapid publication of brief reports of particular importance. ApJLett has had a separate editor from the main journal since 1971.

Fred Rasio was born in Brussels, Belgium, and earned an engineering degree at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He came to the U.S. in 1985 to attend graduate school at Cornell University, where he received his doctorate in physics in 1991. After stints at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rasio moved to Northwestern in 2001; he is now the Joseph Cummings Professor of Physics there. His research interests encompass theoretical and computational dynamics of astrophysical systems, including extrasolar planets, neutron stars and black holes, binary and multiple stars, star clusters, and active galactic nuclei. He has served as one of the ApJ's scientific editors since July 2005.

The search for the first new Letters editor in a decade was conducted by the AAS Publications Board, chaired by Richard F. Green (Large Binocular Telescope Observatory). "Fred was selected because of his scientific stature, breadth, and productivity; his exemplary experience as a scientific editor of The Astrophysical Journal; and his practical proposal for an editorial structure to deal effectively with the continuously expanding scope of the Letters," says Green.

"Fred's keen judgment and dedication to maintaining the highest scientific standards have been invaluable at the Journal," adds ApJ editor Ethan T. Vishniac (McMaster University). "I look forward to working with him closely in his new job."

Rasio will formally take the reins at ApJLett on January 1, 2013, though he'll work side-by-side with Sneden for the six preceding months to ensure a smooth editorial transition.

"It is a great honor to have been selected to be the next editor of The Astrophysical Journal Letters," says Rasio. "In his April 1967 editorial, Chandrasekhar said that the main reason for launching Letters was to 'serve better the needs of the current spectacular developments in astronomy.' With so many spectacular developments happening now, across a broad range of topics from exoplanets to cosmology, I look forward to carrying on the great tradition of rapid publication of our most important new discoveries in astronomy."


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The Astrophysical Journal Letters:

Additional Contacts:
Frederic A. Rasio
Northwestern University
+1 847-467-3419

Kevin B. Marvel
AAS Executive Officer
+1 202-328-2010 x114

Chris Biemesderfer
AAS Director of Publishing
+1 202-328-2010 x118

The Astrophysical Journal, The Astrophysical Journal Letters, and The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (begun in 1953 to accommodate significant papers containing extensive data or calculations) are published for the AAS by the Institute of Physics Publishing in Bristol, England. Access is restricted to subscribers for the first year after a paper is published. After one year access is freely open to all.

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), established in 1899 and based in Washington, DC, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. Its membership of about 7,500 individuals also includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers, and others whose research and educational interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising contemporary astronomy. The mission of the AAS is to enhance and share humanity's scientific understanding of the universe.