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This image of the Whirlpool Galaxy was planned, observed and processed by members of the 2005 Hubble Heritage Team. Biographies are available on the Heritage Team Home Page. Biographies of other co-investigators on the observations are below.

Stephen Beckwith

Stephen Beckwith


Steven Beckwith is the Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) on the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at JHU.

His background is in engineering and physics. He attended the engineering school at Cornell University as an undergraduate from 1970 to 1973, receiving a B.S. with distinction in Engineering Physics in 1973. From 1973 to 1978, he did graduate work in physics at the California Institute of Technology, receiving a Ph.D. in Physics in 1978. He then joined the faculty of Cornell University in the astronomy department, where he taught for 13 years, as a professor. During that time, he held a number of visiting positions at Arcetri Observatory (Florence, Italy), the University of California at Berkeley, the California Institute of Technology, and the Max-Planck-Institute fuer Astronomie (Heidelberg, Germany).

In 1991, he moved to Heidelberg, Germany as one of two directors of the Max-Planck- Institut fuer Astronomie (MPIA), and later became Managing Director of the MPIA in 1994, where he ran the German national observatory, the Calar Alto Observatory in southern Spain. He was Managing Director of MPIA until 1998, when he moved back to the United States to become the Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute.

His principal research interests are the formation and early evolution of planets including those outside the Solar System, and the birth of galaxies in the early universe. He has published over 100 research articles, and lectures extensively to the general public and professional audiences. He has won several awards in the United States and Europe for his research; he was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004.

Steven Beckwith resides in Ruxton, Maryland with his wife, Susan McCormick, and his children, Martha and Thomas, with whom he enjoys skiing, fishing, bicycle touring, and traveling.

Robert Kennicutt

Robert Kennicutt

(University of Arizona)

Robert Kennicutt is currently a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona, where he divides his time between research, teaching, and serving as the Editor-of-Chief of The Astrophysical Journal, the largest and most prestigious U.S. professional journal in astronomy. He grew up near Binghamton, New York and earned his undergraduate degree in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After that he moved to Seattle and earned his masters and doctoral degrees in astronomy at the University of Washington. He held a faculty position for 8 years at the University of Minnesota before moving to Arizona in 1988. Later this year he will move to the University of Cambridge in England as the Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Natural Philosophy.

Robert has spent most of his astronomy career studying the evolution of galaxies and the formation of stars in galaxies. M51 has been one of his favorite objects of study over this entire time. In addition to being involved in several Hubble Space Telescope projects including Co-Principal Investigator on the Extragalactic Distance Scale Key Project, he currently leads the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxies Survey (SINGS), which is making an in-depth study of nearby star forming galaxies including M51. He is also an avid rockhound and spends much of his spare time hunting for rocks, fossils, and gemstones in the deserts of Arizona and the mountain west.