Chris Impey
NSF Award Recognition: NSF 2002 Distinguished Teaching Scholars

Research Contributions: Dr. Impey’s research interests center on cosmology and the study of diffuse ultra-faint galaxies, active galaxies, and quasars. More than a dozen of his projects have been approved for observations with the Hubble Space Telescope. He is a member of the Information Technology Advisory Council, which advises the President’s cabinet on information technology issues. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Astronomy Education Journal of the American Astronomical Society.

Educational Contributions: Dr. Impey is co-author of two introductory textbooks in astronomy: Astronomy: The Cosmic Journey (1995) and The Universe Revealed (2000). He has developed interactive teaching materials for Teaching Astronomy (1994), and authored Interactive Teaching Tools for Astronomy, Interactive Leaning: Vignettes from America’s Most Wired Campuses (2000). Dr. Impey was the youngest person to be named University Distinguished Professor, the university’s highest teaching honor.

Director's Award Project: Dr. Impey is developing new instructional technologies for use in teaching astronomy to non-science majors. The project includes interactive Java applets that use real data to teach basic physics and astronomy concepts, and virtual worlds that allow 3-D exploration of the universe on various scales. Impey is also creating a natural language "expert system" to answer questions across the subject matter and a data architecture to allow flexible delivery of this content over the Internet. The tools have application for distance learning and can readily be applied to other science disciplines.

from NSF Event, 2002 Program