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December 13, 1996
For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Dennis O'Shea
Davidsen Named Interim Dean of the Faculty
Arthur F. Davidsen, who led Johns Hopkins University's
successful ventures into space with the
Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope, has
agreed to serve as interim dean of the faculty of the
Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.
Provost Steven Knapp, who has remained temporarily as Arts
dean since he was appointed provost earlier this year, said
Davidsen will take
on a significant portion of the dean's duties. Davidsen, an
a member of the Hopkins faculty for more than 20 years, will
assume his new
title Jan. 1. He will remain in the position until a new dean of
the school is
appointed, Knapp said.
Davidsen, Knapp said, will concentrate on the internal
affairs of the
school, while Knapp continues to lead its portion of the Johns
Initiative fund-raising campaign and to manage its relations with
Hopkins divisions. The arrangement will give Knapp time to focus
on his role
as provost and on the search for his replacement as permanent
"I have come to know Arthur Davidsen through his excellent
the Homewood Academic Council, as well as his role as principal
on the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope project," Knapp said. "I
have found him
to be a wise and thoughtful colleague, with a profound commitment
excellence, and my impression has been confirmed by the many
people with whom
I consulted before selecting him for this interim appointment."
Davidsen said he was honored to be asked to assist in a time
transition to a new dean.
"As is true of any of the world's great universities, the
faculty is at
the heart of Johns Hopkins' greatness," Davidsen said. "It is a
me to be able to serve the faculty of the Krieger School as
interim dean of
the faculty until their search committee identifies a successor
Davidsen and his team in the
Department of Physics and Astronomy
are known worldwide for building and sending into space several
that have helped further our understanding of the origins and
of the universe. His speciality is ultraviolet astronomy, the
study of cosmic
objects in a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum where
especially difficult but highly productive.
Davidsen and colleagues at Hopkins in 1977 were the first to
ultraviolet spectrum of an object outside the Milky Way galaxy.
designed and built the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope, sending it
into space on
shuttle missions in 1990 and 1995. Those flights have resulted in
publication of more than 100 scientific papers. Davidsen and two
Hopkins co-authors, for instance, detailed in the journal Nature
year important new findings concerning the primordial
the diffuse gas created in the big bang that occupies the
empty space between the galaxies.
Davidsen joined the Hopkins faculty in 1975, the year he
doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. He was
professor in 1980. He has received the prestigious Helen B.
Warner Prize from
the American Astronomical Society and is a fellow of the American
Society and the American Association for the Advancement of
In the early 1980s, Davidsen led the university's successful
bring to Baltimore the Space Telescope Science Institute, the
station for the Hubble Space Telescope. He also helped to develop
Faint Object Spectrograph and was the first chairman of the
Davidsen said his recently completed five-year term on the
Academic Council, the principal academic governing body of the
schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering, has given him a
appreciation for the excellence of the faculty across the Krieger
disciplines far different from his own.
He said he will continue his research while serving in the
office. A paper describing a new theory of the intergalactic
scheduled for publication next year and Davidsen and his team are
proposal for a new space mission.
Davidsen said he had not made any decision as to whether he
will be a
candidate for dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. "I'll
cross that bridge
when and if I come to it," he said.
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