David J. Helfand has been a faculty member at Columbia University for forty-two years, serving nearly half of that time as Chair of the Department of Astronomy.
He is the author of over 200 scientific publications and has mentored 22 PhD students, but most of his pedagogical efforts have been aimed at teaching science to non-science majors. He instituted the first change in Columbia's Core Curriculum in 60 years by introducing Frontiers of Science, a course required of all first-year students.
In 2005, he became involved in the effort to create Canada's first independent, non-profit university, Quest University Canada. He was a Visiting Tutor in the University's inaugural semester in the Fall of 2007 and served as President & Vice-Chancellor from 2008 to 2015 when he returned to Columbia.
He also recently concluded a four-year term as President of the American Astronomical Society.
He is now Chair of the American Institute of Physics, a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of ScienceCounts, an organization formed to communicate to the public the importance and impact of publicly funded fundamental research.
His recently released book, “A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age” provides the essential tools informed citizens must acquire to combat the tsunami of mis- and dis-information that threatens rational approaches to personal decision-making and the formation of good public policy.