David Soderblom

Chair, Senior Science Staff Executive Committee
David Soderblom

Dr. David R. Soderblom, the 2018 senior science staff executive committee chair, first came to the institute in 1984 as an assistant astronomer. He has built his career at the institute in a number of technical and leadership roles, and is a fully tenured astronomer. As science staff chair, Dr. Soderblom fosters the research strength of the institute by interacting with the science staff, leading the mentoring program for researchers, and working with management on matters related to the research staff and its role in the future of the institute. Before joining the institute, he served as a research astronomer and Langley-Abbot Fellow at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and as a visiting scientist at the High Altitude Observatory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

For more than 30 years, Dr. Soderblom has published and presented original research. His articles have appeared in the Astronomical Journal, Astronomy & Astrophysics, the Astrophysical Journal, and the Astrophysical Journal Supplement. He serves as the vice president of the IAU (International Astronomical Union) Division G, which covers stars and stellar physics, as well as a nominating committee member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Section D for astronomy. Previously, he served as a chair of the science advisory committee for Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, of which he is still a member. He is also a member of the American Astronomical Society, the IAU, and the AAAS.

Education and outreach are core components of Dr. Soderblom’s work. He has served as a lead scientist and coordinator for the institute’s Space Astronomy Summer Program; a supervisor for high school work-study interns; and a speaker for Project ASTRO in Baltimore-area schools. He has also contributed as a speaker for the Planets, Life, and the Universe Lecture Series, produced in partnership with Johns Hopkins University, since 2012.


PhD in Astronomy, University of California, Santa Cruz
AB in Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley

Science/Research Interests:

  • Observational studies of the evolution of solar-type stars 
 and their age-related phenomena
  • Angular momentum evolution, from formation through the main sequence lifetimes
  • Lithium depletion and its relation to convection
  • Chromospheric activity and the rotation-activity relation
  • Application of age-related phenomena to Galactic problems, such as determining the ages of low-mass stars, and studying “disk heating,” stellar kinematics, and the Galaxy’s star formation history
  • Comparative studies of the Sun to other stars
  • Implications for the formation and evolution of the Sun
  • The angular momentum history of the Sun
  • Application of knowledge of solar-type stars to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence and planets beyond our Solar System
  • Solar-type stars as a population
  • The ages of stars

Research Topics: Star Clusters; Astrometry; Stellar Physics; Galactic Archaeology; Asteroseismology

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ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0322-8161