Dr. Jason Kalirai Selected as One of Baltimore’s Future Visionaries

Astronomer Dr. Jason Kalirai of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) has been cited by Baltimore Magazine as one of the “top 40 under 40” up-and-comers in the Baltimore metropolitan region.

The selection, which the magazine does every five years, looks at young Baltimore professionals in a diversity of fields who in the editor’s opinion are an exceptional selection of people that will have an important impact on the future.

The 35-year-old Kalirai was selected from several hundred potential candidates to be highlighted in the magazine’s October issue.

Senior Editor Jess Blumberg said, “We picked Jason for his lofty goals of trying to understand the origin of the universe. Here is a guy who thinks big. We look forward to him becoming a mover and shaker in the Baltimore community in the coming years.”

In addition to his many research achievements, Blumberg highlighted Kalirai’s drive to communicate the science case and technology of the James Webb Space Telescope to a diverse set of audiences.

Planned for a 2018 launch, the telescope is the successor to the mighty Hubble Space Telescope and is one of the biggest scientific projects happening in the world. It will travel 1 million miles from Earth, past the Moon, to reveal our clearest and deepest images of the universe to date. About once every month, Kalirai visits communities across the country, including many schools, and engages students on the promising future of space astronomy.

Earlier this year Kalirai was awarded the 2013 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize for his research achievements. This annual prize from the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is given for outstanding achievements in observational astronomy by an astronomer under the age of 36. Kalirai will be presenting the plenary Pierce Prize lecture in front of the society at its January 2014 annual meeting in National Harbor, Md.

Kalirai is the project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope at STScI and an associate researcher at the Center for Astrophysical Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University. He received a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of British Columbia in 2004 and was then selected as a Hubble Fellow postdoctoral researcher at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Kalirai has been cited for his contributions to the field of stellar and galactic astrophysics. His research has led to new insights on the life cycle of stars like our Sun. Kalirai has also devised new methods to measure the age of our Milky Way galaxy.

Kalirai lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with his wife and twin daughters.


Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.