Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the College
Wendy Freedman is the 20th person to hold a University Professorship at the University of Chicago. One of the world’s most influential astronomers, she previously led a team of 30 astronomers who carried out the Hubble Key Project to measure the current expansion rate of the universe. At the project’s start in the mid-1980s, estimates of the age and size of the universe ranged between 10 and 20 billion years. The project’s final results resolved this long-standing debate, determining the age of the universe as 13.7 billion years with an uncertainty of 10 percent.
Freedman is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Philosophical Society, as well as an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Physical Society. Her additional honors include the American Philosophical Society’s Magellanic Prize and the Gruber Cosmology Prize.
Freedman received her PhD from the University of Toronto. Most recently, she was the Crawford H. Greenewalt Director of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Pasadena, California. She has also served as chair of the board of directors of the Giant Magellan Telescope project since its inception in 2003, a role she will retain at Chicago.
Freedman joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2014.