UT Women in Science: Anita Cochran Named Fellow of American Astronomical Society

Updated: Apr 24

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), the major organization of professional astronomers in North America, has honored Dr. Anita Cochran, Assistant Director of McDonald Observatory and Senior Research Scientist, for extraordinary achievement and service by naming her an AAS Fellow for 2021.

Cochran was honored for her research addressing the molecular composition and structure of comets and her decades of service to the astronomical community.

“It is wonderful to see Anita’s work on comets and her leadership in observatory operations recognized by the American Astronomical Society,” said Dr. Taft Armandroff, Director of McDonald Observatory.


In all, 31 Fellows were recognized for original research and publication, innovative contributions to astronomical techniques or instrumentation, significant contributions to education and public outreach, and noteworthy service to astronomy and to the Society itself. The complete list of new AAS Fellows is available at: https://aas.org/press/aas-fellows-2021


The inaugural class of AAS Fellows, called Legacy Fellows, was named last year. From UT Austin, it included Dr. J. Craig Wheeler and Dr. Mary Kay Hemenway.


Established in 1899, the American Astronomical Society has a membership of about 8,000. In addition to astronomers, it also includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers, and others whose research interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising the astronomical sciences. The mission of the AAS is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe, which it achieves through publishing, meeting organization, science advocacy, education and outreach, and training and professional development.


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