Astrophysicist John Johnson Leaving CalTech for Harvard

Johnson_JohnJohn A. Johnson, an assistant professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, has accepted a position as a full professor of astronomy with tenure at Harvard University. Dr. Johnson’s research focuses on searching for exoplanets. He will begin his new teaching post this fall.

In a blog post explaining his decision to go to Harvard, Dr. Johnson stated, “There were myriad reasons for this change in my career path. At Caltech, over the 3.5 years that I’ve been there I’ve come to recognize a fundamental mismatch between what I value and what the institute values. This is not a statement about which side is right, per se. It’s just a statement of fact about the nature of different people’s values. . . .  Caltech is structured to be a lean, mean research machine. To be sure, I have benefited greatly from that structure on the research side of things. The downside is that their small size and elite status constricts their ability to prioritize diversity and makes it difficult to put a meaningful focus on education, especially on teaching innovation.” You can read his complete post here.

Dr. Johnson is a graduate of the Missouri University of Science and Technology. He holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of California at Berkeley.



Comments (3)

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  1. Gembre says:

    Thank you! I went to Caltech for undergrad and felt exactly the same thing. Thank you for speaking it out loud.

  2. E. James Willrich, J.D. says:

    Dr. Johnson not only has a brilliant mind but the way he conveys information about the Universe is like listening to the most beautiful Symphony. Harvard is indeed lucky to have him. I can’t wait to read his book about Exoplanets and Red Dwarf Stars.

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