Linda Sparke

Linda Siobhan Sparke is a British astronomer known for her research on the structure and dynamics of galaxies. She is a professor emerita of astronomy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison,[1] and Explorers Program Scientist in the NASA Astrophysics Division.[2]

Education and careerEdit

Sparke was born in London, and read mathematics as an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge.[1][3] She completed a Ph.D. in astronomy in 1981 from the University of California, Berkeley; her dissertation was Swirling Gas Flows in Elliptical Galaxies.[4]

After postdoctoral research at the Institute for Advanced Study, the University of Cambridge, and the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, she became a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[3] She retired in 2010 to become a professor emeritus,[1] served as a program manager at the National Science Foundation for two years,[2] and became research program manager in astrophysics at NASA[5] and later Explorers Program Scientist at NASA.[2]


With John Gallagher III, Sparke is the author of the undergraduate textbook Galaxies in the Universe: an Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2000; 2nd ed., 2006).[6][7]


Sparke was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2002, after a nomination from the APS Division of Astrophysics. The fellowship citation noted her "studies of the structure and dynamics of galaxies, using orbital motions to probe both time-steady and time-varying gravitational potentials, and the distribution of dark matter".[8] In 2020 she was named a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), as one of 200 Legacy Fellows named to start the AAS Fellows program.[2]

Her book Galaxies in the Universe: an Introduction won the Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award of the American Astronomical Society in 2008.[3][7]


  1. ^ a b c "Linda Sparke, Emeritus", Our people: Emeriti, University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Astronomy, retrieved 2020-06-23
  2. ^ a b c d American Astronomical Society (AAS) Names 29 NASA-Affiliated Legacy Fellows, NASA, May 8, 2020 – via SpaceRef
  3. ^ a b c "Dr. Linda Sparke", Science leadership, NASA, retrieved 2020-06-23
  4. ^ "Swirling Gas Flows in Elliptical Galaxies", International Nuclear Information System, retrieved 2020-06-23
  5. ^ Maucione, Scott (April 29, 2016), Dr. Linda Sparke: Working on new ideas for NASA's long-term missions, Federal News Network, retrieved 2020-06-23
  6. ^ O'Brien, Paul (2001), "Review of Galaxies in the Universe", The Observatory, 121 (1162): 183, Bibcode:2001Obs...121..404S
  7. ^ a b Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award, American Astronomical Society, retrieved 2020-06-23
  8. ^ APS Fellows Nominated by DAP: 2002, APS Division of Astrophysics, retrieved 2020-06-23

External linksEdit