Timothy Heckman is an astrophysicist recognized for his work on the formation and evolution of galaxies. He is particularly well-known for his work on galactic winds and on the co-evolution of galaxies and supermassive black holes. Heckman was born in and grew up in Toledo, Ohio. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in physics and a concentration in astronomy. He received his PhD from the University of Washington, followed by post-doctoral fellowships at Leiden Observatory and Steward Observatory. He joined the faculty of the Astronomy Program at the University of Maryland, before moving to the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University in 1989. He is currently the department Chair and the inaugural A. Hermann Pfund Professor. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Timothy Heckman's work is observational and multi-waveband in nature, with an emphasis on spectroscopy in the visible and ultraviolet. He is interested in the understanding the physical processes that over the last 13 billion years have determined the properties of galaxies and their supermassive black holes. His early work showed that energetic activity associated with supermassive black holes is present at low levels in the nuclei of normal galaxies. He has pioneered the multi-waveband observations of galactic winds driven by the energy and momentum supplied by massive stars, and has developed a variety of diagnostic tools to interpret these outflows and quantify their effects. He has used the new generation of very large sky surveys to characterize the content, physical characteristics, and chemical and dynamical properties of the population of galaxies in the contemporary universe and relate these to the growth rates of supermassive black holes.

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Primary Section

Section 12: Astronomy