Physicist named a fellow of the American Physical Society

Author: Iqbal Pittalwala
October 16, 2021

Gillian Wilson, a professor of physics and astronomy, has been named a fellow of the American Physical Society, or APS, “for pioneering techniques and significant contributions to clusters of galaxies, massive galaxies and cosmology, as well as for sustained leadership in research administration, broadening participation and outreach.” Wilson is one of only seven scientists elected this year from the APS Division of Astrophysics.

APS fellowship is a distinct honor signifying recognition by one’s professional peers. Each year, no more than one half of one percent of the society’s membership is recognized by their peers for election to the status of fellow of the APS.

Gillian Wilson
Gillian Wilson. (UCR/I. Pittalwala)

Wilson’s research interests include the study of clusters of galaxies, massive galaxies, galaxy evolution, infrared astronomy, cosmology, and instrumentation. Before she joined the UC Riverside faculty in 2007, she was a staff scientist at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech. She is principal investigator on three current projects: “The Massive Ancient Galaxies At z > 3 NEar-infrared,” or MAGAZ3NE Survey, the world’s largest survey of ultramassive galaxies; the Gemini CLuster Astrophysics Spectroscopic Survey, or GCLASS; and the Spitzer Adaptation of the Red-sequence Cluster Survey, or SpARCS, one of the largest cluster surveys in the world.

At UCR, Wilson serves as senior associate vice chancellor for research and economic development and as director of the Multidisciplinary Research Building. She has served as interim deputy director of the University of California Observatories. She is a graduate of the Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering as well as the UC-CORO Systemwide Leadership Collaborative Program. She is also a Research Leader Fellow of the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities Council on Research.

Wilson’s many honors include a NASA Group Achievement Award, NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory Certificate of Appreciation. She has authored or coauthored more than 110 research papers published in peer-reviewed journals. A sought-after thought leader and speaker on women in science and technology, Wilson is committed to public outreach and attracting underrepresented minorities into the STEM fields. She is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society, International Astronomical Union, and American Astronomical Society.

APS represents more than 55,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and the world. The APS Fellowship Program recognizes members who may have made advances in physics through original research and publication, made significant contributions in the application of physics to science and technology, or made significant contributions to the teaching of physics or service.