Ken Freeman (astronomer)

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Ken Freeman

Freeman in 2008
Kenneth Charles Freeman

(1940-08-27) 27 August 1940 (age 83)
Perth, Western Australia
Alma materUniversity of Western Australia
University of Cambridge
Known forFreeman Law
Scientific career
FieldsAstronomy and astrophysics
InstitutionsAustralian National University
Doctoral advisorLeon Mestel
Donald Lynden-Bell[citation needed]

Kenneth Charles Freeman AC FAA FRS (born 27 August 1940) is an Australian astronomer and astrophysicist who is currently Duffield Professor of Astronomy in the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Mount Stromlo Observatory of the Australian National University in Canberra. He was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1940, studied mathematics and physics at the University of Western Australia, and graduated with first class honours in applied mathematics in 1962. He then went to Cambridge University for postgraduate work in theoretical astrophysics with Leon Mestel and Donald Lynden-Bell, and completed his doctorate in 1965. Following a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Texas with Gérard de Vaucouleurs, and a research fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, he returned to Australia in 1967 as a Queen Elizabeth Fellow at Mount Stromlo. Apart from a year in the Kapteyn Institute in Groningen in 1976 and some occasional absences overseas, he has been at Mount Stromlo ever since.[1]

His research interests are in the formation and dynamics of galaxies and globular clusters, and he is particularly interested in the problem of dark matter in galaxies: he was one of the first to point out that spiral galaxies contain a large fraction of dark matter.[2] He regularly visits the Space Telescope Science Institute as Distinguished Visiting Scientist.[3]

He is very active in supporting graduate students and has acted as primary supervisor for 60 PhD students and 12 postdocs. He currently supervises Stephanie Monty on globular cluster populations in the Milky Way. Five of his students have won Hubble Fellowships. He is active in international astronomy, as a division past-president of the International Astronomical Union, and serves on visiting committees for several major astronomical institutions around the world. He has been an invited speaker at 154 international conferences since 1969.[4] He has co-authored a book on dark matter.[5]

Appointments and honours[edit]


  1. ^ Freeman, Kenneth Charles (1940 - ), Bright Sparcs (University of Melbourne), 7 November 2005.
  2. ^ Dark matter in galaxies Archived 30 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Institute of Advanced Studies, 14 August 2008.
  3. ^ Cluster One Research Evaluation Committee Biographies of Members Archived 15 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Australian Research Council, 5 August 2009.
  4. ^ The Dynamics, Structure and History of Galaxies ASP Conference Series, Vol. 273, 2002 (G.S. Da Costa & H. Jerjen, eds)
  5. ^ Ken Freeman, Geoff McNamara (2006). In Search of Dark Matter. Springer. ISBN 978-0-387-27616-8.
  6. ^ "2012 Prime Minister's Prize for Science". Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  7. ^ ANU researcher takes out top science prize, Timothy McDonald, ABC News Online, 24 January 2013
  8. ^ "May 2, 2017: NAS Members and Foreign Associates Elected".
  9. ^ "AAS Fellows". AAS. Retrieved 27 September 2020.