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UK’s Gary Ferland named AAAS Fellow

By Jenny Wells-Hosley 

A portrait of a professor.
Gary Ferland (center) with students

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 31, 2023) — Gary Ferland, a professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals.

Ferland is among 505 scientists, engineers and innovators who have been elected 2022 fellows for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements throughout their careers.

The fellowship honors Ferland’s development of a theoretical astrophysics code, “Cloudy,” which is used across the astronomical community, worldwide, to understand the light received from stars and galaxies at the edge of the universe. It has become one of the most highly cited projects in the field.

“Gary Ferland’s induction into the AAAS is a tremendous honor for him and for the Department of Physics and Astronomy,” said Brad Plaster, chair of the department. “Gary’s highly cited work in theoretical astrophysics through his original development and intellectual leadership of the ‘Cloudy’ project has had an enormous impact on the field of astronomy, permitting astronomers worldwide to analyze and interpret data from astrophysical sources in our own Milky Way galaxy and from those out to the edge of the observable universe. The Department of Physics and Astronomy is proud to congratulate Gary on his well-deserved induction into the AAAS.”

Ferland says UK is one of the few places where receiving this honor was possible for him.

“(This award) is a great honor and is as much to UK as to me,” Ferland said. “Several dozen UK undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs helped me develop 'Cloudy' into one of the most widely used codes in theoretical astrophysics, with about 400 papers citing it in their research each year.”

As the sole 2022 inductee from UK, Ferland joins the ranks of 10 other active UK AAAS Fellows. He is the only fellow from the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Learn more about Ferland and the Cloudy project here.

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