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David Weintraub

Professor of Astronomy, Emeritus
Professor of History, of Communication of Science and Technology, Emeritus

Research Interests

My research interests are now exclusively in science communication, in particular in the area of communicating science effectively to children.

Current projects include developing and editing a series of scientific biographies for children (; as a motivational tool for motiving nine and ten-year-old readers to find role models in STEM and to keep the door open to careers in STEM.


Dr. David A. Weintraub is a Professor of Astronomy at Vanderbilt University, where he founded and directs the Communication of Science and Technology program and does research on the formation of stars and planets. He has secondary appointments in History and in the Communication of Science and Technology. He is the 2015 winner of the Klopsteg Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers, which recognizes the outstanding communication of the excitement of contemporary physics to the general public. His most recent book is The Sky is for Everyone: Women Astronomers in Their Own Words (2022, Princeton University Press). Previous books include Life on Mars: What to Know Before We Go (2018, PUP), Religions and Extraterrestrial Life: How Will We Deal With It? (2014, Springer), How Old is the Universe? (2010, PUP), and Is Pluto a Planet? (2006, PUP). He is also created the Who Me? series of scientific biographies for fifth-grade level readers and is co-editor of three published books and six in-development books in this series, most of which are being written in partnership with Vanderbilt undergraduates.


Weintraub served as Chair of the Vanderbilt University Faculty Senate (2011-2012), on the College of Arts & Science Faculty Council for eight years, including twice as Chair (2003-2004 and 2016-2017), Director of Undergraduate Studies for Physics & Astronomy (2003-2018), and Director the Communication of Science and Technology Program (2006-2023). He served on 13 different committees across ten years (1999-2009) that invented and developed the First-Year Commons and Residential College program at Vanderbilt, served on the committees that invented and implemented the AXLE curriculum for Arts & Science undergraduates (1999-2006), and chaired the ad hoc Greek Life Review Task Force for the Faculty Senate (2013-2016). He was awarded by Vanderbilt the Chancellor’s Cup (2001), the Jeffrey Nordhaus Award for Undergraduate Teaching (2003), the Chancellor’s Award for Research (2005), the Thomas Jefferson Distinguished Service Award (2009), and the Ernest A. Jones Undergraduate Advisor Award (2011). He has been honored as the John Wiley Jones Distinguished Lecturer at Rochester Institute of Technology (2012), the Natural Sciences Distinguished Lecturer at Colgate University (2014), and the Robert M. Woods Memorial Lecturer at Westminster (PA) College (2016).

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