Biographical Sketch

James B. (Jim) Kaler, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, earned his A.B. at the University of Michigan, his Ph.D. at UCLA, and has been at the University of Illinois since 1964. His research area, in which he published more than 120 papers, involved dying stars. Prof. Kaler has held Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships, has been awarded medals for his work from the University of Liège in Belgium and the University of Mexico, gave both the Armand Spitz Lecture to the Great Lakes Planetarium Association and the Margaret Noble Address to the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society, and received the 2003 Campus Award for Excellence in Public Engagement. He has written for a variety of popular and semi-popular magazines, was a consultant for Time-Life Books on their Voyage Through the Universe series, long appeared on Illinois television and radio, and has published nearly 20 books, including Stars and their Spectra, The Ever-Changing Sky, Extreme Stars, and the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stars (Cambridge), Stars and Cosmic Clouds (Scientific American Library), two textbooks, The Little Book of Stars and The Hundred Greatest Stars (Copernicus), and three audio courses (Recorded Books). His latest books are Heaven's Touch (Princeton), the second edition of Stars and their Spectra (Cambridge), and First Magnitude: A Book of the Bright Sky (World Scientific). Kaler operates two main websites, Skylights, which provides weekly information on the sights of the sky, and Stars, which features the "Star of the Week." Since 1998, the two, along with nearly 30 cognate sites, have received a total of more than eight million visitors. Kaler is a past president of the Boards of Directors of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and the Champaign-Urbana Symphony. Asteroid 1998 JK was named 17853 Kaler in honor of his outreach activities, and in 2008 he received the American Astronomical Society's Education Prize.