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Margaret Burbidge Visiting Professorship


The UC San Diego Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics invites nominations, including self-nominations, of women astrophysicists for the Margaret Burbidge Visiting Professorship Award. We are currently accepting nominations for Academic Year 2024 – 2025. The nomination period runs Oct 16, 2023 to Feb 29, 2024. Please use this nomination form.

The purpose of the visiting professorship is to bring eminent astrophysicists to UC San Diego on a short-term basis for collaborative research interactions within the department. The appointee is not required to do formal teaching, however a department colloquium and public talks to students are encouraged.

This professorship is made possible by the generous support of the Heising-Simons Foundation.


Current Visiting Professors



Jessica Werk

Associate Professor Astronomy

University of Washington

Winter 2023


Past Visiting Professors



Lisa Randall

Professor Physics 

Harvard University

Spring 2022




Misty Bentz

Associate Professor Physics & Astronomy

Georgia State University

Fall 2021




Elena Aprile

Professor Physics 

Columbia University

Fall 2020




Annie Colin

Professor of Innovative Materials for Energy
École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles

Fall 2019




Smitha Vishveshwara

Professor of Physics

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Fall 2019


Faculty members or research scientists in any area of astronomy and astrophysics are eligible for nomination. Non-US citizens must be eligible for J-1 Scholar visa status. A UC San Diego Faculty Host must be identified prior to submission of the nomination.

Appointees are expected to be on the UC San Diego campus for the duration of the Burbidge Visiting Professorship term. A faculty host at UC San Diego needs to be identified before the nomination and provide a letter of support. The appointees have no teaching duties, though they are strongly encouraged to present a department colloquium, and to interact with students and faculty as role models for women in physics and astronomy. Appointees will be asked to provide an end of term report after the conclusion of their appointment.

Term of Appointment

Full academic quarter (12-week) appointments are encouraged, though shorter appointments will be considered. The visit must run for consecutive weeks, and the awardee must be in residence at San Diego for the duration of their appointment. Exact starting dates are negotiable but must take place during the UC San Diego academic year.


The stipend is $1,500 per week plus $150 daily for living expenses, for a maximum of 12 weeks. We will cover one round-trip to and from San Diego for the appointee. There is no provision for travel for family members; however, additional funding is available to support child-care expenses for the appointee while in residence at San Diego. The granting of the award is subject to home institution and UC San Diego approval of funding arrangements.

In addition, appointees will be allocated a fund of $3,000 while in residence to support events with student groups and junior faculty, such as lunches, refreshments at public talks, etc.

Research Proposal

The research proposal is prepared by the nominator (the candidate for self-nominations) and should discuss the value that the candidate will bring to the UC San Diego Astronomy & Astrophysics Department and campus. Candidate research supported by multiple faculty across the department and campus is strongly encouraged. Research proposals must not exceed two single-spaced pages in 11 pt. or larger font.