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Xanthus Communications >> Experts >> Andrew Fraknoi

Andrew Fraknoi
Expert in Astronomy

Andrew Fraknoi is an award-winning science educator known for his skill in interpreting astronomical discoveries and communicating his ideas in everyday language. He is currently the Chair of the Astronomy Program at Foothill College near San Francisco. He has given more than 400 public lectures on such topics as "What Were the Atoms in Your Body Doing 8 Billion Years Ago?" Nationally, he has been heard on Science Friday, Weekend Edition, All Things Considered on National Public Radio. His television appearances include The Today Show, CBS Morning News, and Larry King Live.

Andrew Fraknoi's background includes 14 years serving as the Executive Director of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, an international scientific and educational organization founded in 1889. He was also editor of its popular level magazine, Mercury, and its newsletter for teachers, The Universe in the Classroom. He founded and directed Project ASTRO, a program that trains and brings professional and amateur astronomers into 4th - 9th grade classrooms to help teachers be more effective in covering astronomy and space science.

A prolific author, he has edited two collections of science articles and science fiction stories for Bantam Books, and is the lead author of Voyages through the Universe, which has become one of the leading astronomy textbooks in the world. He is also the editor of a two-volume teaching guide called The Universe at Your Fingertips - one of the most widely used astronomy education resources. With Dr. Sidney Wolff, he is the founding editor of Astronomy Education Review, an on-line journal/magazine about astronomy and space science education.

Educated at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, Andrew Fraknoi has taught astronomy and physics at San Francisco State University, the City College of San Francisco, Canada College, and several campuses of the University of California Extension Division. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, a scientific and educational organization. He is also a Fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), specializing in debunking astrology.

In 1994, he received the Annenberg Foundation Prize of the American Astronomical Society, the highest honor in the field of astronomy education, as well as the Klumpke-Roberts Prize of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, awarded for a lifetime of contributions to popularizing astronomy. More recently, he was the first recipient of the 2002 Carl Sagan Prize, and was elected a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences in 2003. His "Physics for Poets: Everything You Wanted to Know about Einstein but Were Afraid to Ask" course received the 2005 "Innovation of the Year" award from the League for Innovation.

Asteroid 4859 has been named Asteroid Fraknoi by the International Astronomical Union to honor his work in sharing the excitement of modern astronomy with students, teachers, and the public.


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