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Portrait of Chris McKee

Christopher F. McKee
Professor of Physics
Professor of Astronomy

PhD 1970 (University of California, Berkeley)

Campus address and phone:
501A Campbell Hall
(510) 642-0805



Specialty areas:
Theory of the interstellar medium and of star formation

Research projects:

My research focuses on how stars form out of the tenuous interstellar medium.  My students, collaborators and I use both analytic and numerical techniques to address this problem, and we study both the formation of stars today and the formation of the first stars. I am also interested in the structure and dynamics of the interstellar medium, including the Galactic halo.


I am currently a Professor in both the Physics Department and Astronomy Department.  After receiving my Ph.D. in Physics under the supervision of George Field at UC Berkeley in 1970, I spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow in theoretical astrophysics at Caltech and three years as an assistant professor of astronomy at Harvard before returning to Berkeley in 1974.  I served as Director of the Space Sciences Laboratory from 1985 to 1998 and as Chair of the Physics Department from 2000-2004. I co-chaired the decadal survey in astronomy and astrophysics that appeared in 2000.  I am a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.