Chris Impey is a University Distinguished Professor and deputy head of the astronomy department at the University of Arizona. His research has been supported by $18 million in grants from NASA and the National Science Foundation, and he has had 24 projects given time on astronomy's premier research facility, the Hubble Space Telescope.
As a professor, he has taught astronomy to more 5,000 students and won 11 teaching awards at the University of Arizona. He has pioneered curriculum development in astrobiology, and was the principal investigator on a major four-year grant from the Templeton Foundation to explore issues at the interface of science and religion. He gives about a dozen public talks per year, and has been a Harlow Shapley Lecturer for the American Astronomical Society for 10 years. Working with planetary scientist Bill Hartmann, he co-authored two introductory textbooks that have sold more than 100,000 copies.
He is the creator of the Teach Astronomy website, which supports non-science majors, and he has taught parts of his classes in the 3-D virtual world Second Life. He is teaching a free massive open online class (MOOC) through Udemy with over 8000 enrolled. He has an Internet startup called The Web of Music. His web design and curriculum projects have been supported by both NASA and the National Science Foundation.
Chris is a past vice president of the American Astronomical Society and has served on its Executive Council and its Astronomy Education Board. He has taught cosmology to Tibetan monks as the astronomy faculty leader for the Science for Monks program. He recently was co-chair of the Education and Public Outreach Study Group of the 2010 Astronomy Decadal Survey of the National Academy of Sciences. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2014, Chris was appointed as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor,
with the award of $1 million for improving undergraduate education.