Office of Research and Graduate Studies
Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies
Steven Beckwith is the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at the University of California in the Office of the President and a Professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley. His 30-year research career spans a wide spectrum of interests including the formation and early evolution of extra-solar planetary systems, the evolution of young stars, and the birth of galaxies in the early universe. In 2004, he led the team that created the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, the deepest visual image of the universe, resulting in the discovery of the most distant galaxies ever seen. He has published approximately 200 articles and won several international awards for his work. He lectures extensively worldwide and continues to advise governments in the United States and Europe on research policy.
He received his BS in Engineering Physics from Cornell University and his Ph.D. in Physics from the California Institute of Technology. After graduation, he returned to Cornell as an Assistant Professor of Astronomy and stayed on the faculty for nearly 13 years. In 1991, he moved to Germany to become Director of the Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie in Heidelberg, directing the scientific program in Germany and running the German National Observatory at Calar Alto, Spain. He returned to the United States in 1998 as the Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was responsible for the science operations of the Hubble Space Telescope. He became the telescope's leading public spokesman after NASA announced in 2004 that it would no longer service the telescope, successfully advocating for its continued operation (NASA reversed its decision in 2006). After stepping down as Director, he became a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University and a Distinguished Research Scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute. In 2008, he was appointed Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at the University of California systemwide office.