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Chandra X-ray Center Director Elected to National Academy of Sciences

May 3, 2005

Megan Watzke
Chandra X-ray Observatory Center, CfA, Cambridge, MA
Phone: 617-496-7998

The National Academy of Sciences today announced the election of 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 14 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

The election was held this morning during the business session of the 142nd annual meeting of the Academy. Election to membership in the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer. Those elected today bring the total number of active members to 1,976.

Harvey Tananbaum
CXC Director Harvey Tananbaum at the 2006 NAS Meeting
(Photography by Lois Finley, Event Digital Photography, Inc.)
Among those selected was Harvey Tananbaum, who has served as director of the Chandra X-Ray Center (CXC) at the Smithsonian Astrophsycial Observatory in Cambridge, Mass. since 1991. Prior to becoming director of the CXC, Tananbaum was Associate Director for High Energy Astrophysics at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and scientific program manager for the Einstein X-ray Observatory. He has received the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement in 1980, the NASA Public Service Award in 1988, and the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership in 2000, the Bruno Rossi Award in 2003, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In 1976, Tananbaum and Riccardo Giacconi, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics, submitted a proposal letter to NASA to initiate the study and design of a large X-ray telescope, thus beginning a 23-year journey which led to the launch of Chandra in July of 1999 aboard the space shuttle Columbia.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the Academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.

A more detailed biography of Dr. Tananbaum can be found at:

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