Skip to main content

Alyssa Ann Goodman

Center for Astrophysics
Robert Wheeler Willson Professor of Astronomy


Alyssa Goodman is the Robert Wheeler Willson Professor of Applied Astronomy at Harvard University, former co-Director for Science at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution. Goodman's research and teaching interests span astronomy, data visualization, and online systems for research and education. Goodman received her undergraduate degree in Physics from MIT in 1984 and a Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard in 1989. Goodman was awarded the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize from the American Astronomical Society in 1997, became full professor at Harvard in 1999, was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2009, and chosen as Scientist of the Year by the Harvard Foundation in 2015. Goodman has served as Chair of the Astronomy Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and on the National Academy's Board on Research Data and Information, and she currently serves on the both the IAU and AAS Working Groups on Astroinformatics and Astrostatistics.

Goodman's personal research presently focuses primarily on new ways to visualize and analyze the tremendous data volumes created by large and/or diverse astronomical surveys, and on improving our understanding of the structure of the Milky Way Galaxy. She is the PI of the NSF and NASA-sponsored glue software effort, which creates new tools for high-dimensional data visualization across science and education. She also works closely with colleagues at the American Astronomical Society and Harvard to expand the use of the WorldWide Telescope Universe Information System, in both research and education. Goodman leads the Prediction project at Harvard University, focused on tracing back the roots of modern computer simulation, as prediction, through history, all the way back to the sheep entrail divination practiced in Mesopotamia.

ScB, Physics, MIT 1984, PhD, Physics, Harvard, 1989