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Fred Rasio Named Editor of Astrophysical Journal Letters

December 16, 2011 | by Megan Fellman
EVANSTON, Ill. --- The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has named Frederic A. Rasio of Northwestern University as the next editor of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Rasio will succeed Christopher Sneden (University of Texas, Austin), who plans to retire from the position at the end of 2012 after 10 years of service.

Rasio, a theoretical astrophysicist, will formally take the reins of the journal on Jan. 1, 2013, though he will work side by side with Sneden for the six preceding months to ensure a smooth editorial transition.

“It is a great honor to have been selected to be the next editor of The Astrophysical Journal Letters,” said Rasio, the Joseph Cummings Professor of Physics in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

“In his April 1967 editorial, then-editor Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar said the main reason for launching Letters was to ‘serve better the needs of the current spectacular developments in astronomy,’” Rasio said. “With so many spectacular developments happening now, across a broad range of topics from exoplanets to cosmology, I look forward to carrying on the great tradition of rapid publication of our most important new discoveries in astronomy.”

Begun in 1895 by George Ellery Hale and James E. Keeler, The Astrophysical Journal (“ApJ”) is the world’s foremost peer-reviewed research journal devoted to new developments, discoveries and theories in astronomy and astrophysics. Many of the most significant astronomical advances of the 20th and early 21st centuries were first reported in the journal. The Letters section (“ApJLett”) was created in 1967 by Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar to facilitate the rapid publication of brief reports of particular importance. ApJLett has had a separate editor from the main journal since 1971.

The search for the first new Letters editor in a decade was conducted by the AAS Publications Board, chaired by Richard F. Green (Large Binocular Telescope Observatory). “Fred was selected because of his scientific stature, breadth and productivity; his exemplary experience as a scientific editor of The Astrophysical Journal; and his practical proposal for an editorial structure to deal effectively with the continuously expanding scope of the Letters,” Green said.

Rasio has served as one of The Astrophysical Journal’s scientific editors since July 2005.

“Fred’s keen judgment and dedication to maintaining the highest scientific standards have been invaluable at the journal,” added ApJ editor Ethan T. Vishniac (McMaster University). “I look forward to working with him closely in his new job.”

Rasio’s research interests encompass theoretical and computational dynamics of astrophysical systems, including extrasolar planets, neutron stars and black holes, binary and multiple stars, star clusters and active galactic nuclei. He is co-director of Northwestern’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA).

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