Alex Filippenko received his Ph.D. in astronomy from Caltech in 1984 and joined the University of California, Berkeley faculty in 1986, where he is currently the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences. An observational astronomer who makes frequent use of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck 10- meter telescopes, his primary areas of research are supernovae, active galaxies, black holes, gamma-ray bursts, and the expansion of the Universe. FilippenkoÍs research accomplishments, documented in more than 700 published papers, have been recognized with several major awards, including election to the US National Academy of Sciences. One of the worldÍs most highly cited astronomers, he was the only person to have been a member of both teams that revealed the accelerating expansion of the Universe, propelled by mysterious ñdark energy.î This discovery was deemed the ñTop Breakthrough of 1998î by the editors of Science magazine. The teams received the 2007 Gruber Cosmology Prize for their discovery, which was subsequently honored with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics to the leaders.
Filippenko has won the top teaching awards at UC Berkeley, and students have voted him the ñBest Professorî on campus a record 9 times. In 2006, he was titled the Carnegie/CASE National Professor of the Year among doctoral institutions, and he also won the 2010 Richard H. Emmons Award for excellence in the teaching of college level introductory astronomy for non-science majors. He has produced 5 video courses with The Great Courses, coauthored an award-winning astronomy textbook, and appears in about 100 TV documentaries, including 40 episodes of The Universe series on The History Channel and H2. In 2004, he was awarded the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization. He is addicted to observing total solar eclipses, having seen 12 of them so far.