This web site commemorates the 50th anniversary of the modern University of Washington Astronomy Department which was founded in 1965. From 1891 to 1965 the UW had only one astronomer who taught a few undergraduate astronomy courses. In 1965 the astronomy department began to expand dramatically with the arrival of George Wallerstein and Paul Hodge and the initiation of a graduate program. In 2014 the department has approximately 18 state-funded faculty, 7 emeritus faculty, 5 research faculty, 11 research scientists, 8 postdoctoral fellows, 9 staff members, 30 graduate students and 80 undergraduate majors.

Today the department has major shares in facilities and projects such as the Apache Point Observatory, Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. Department members obtain and analyze data from a wide variety of space observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra and Kepler. The department also houses the highly interdisciplinary Astrobiology Program which is funded in part by a large grant from the NASA Astrobiology Institute. The department has taken a leadership role in astrophysical theory via groups such as the N-Body Shop and the campus-wide e-science initiative.

The UW Department of Astronomy has a rich history of accomplishments due to the efforts of the individuals who have called the department home for short or (very) long periods of time. This site is an attempt to “show and tell” some of the events, people and stories from the past that have provided the framework for what exists in 2015.

Astronomy Department offices are on the third floor of the Physics and Astronomy Building, located on the UW main campus.

A sundial designed by Woody Sullivan is located on the south wall of the Physics and Astronomy Classroom Building