Charles Bailyn

Science (Astronomy and Physics)



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Professor Charles Bailyn is Yale-NUS’ inaugural Dean of Faculty. He is also the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University.

Professor Bailyn was an undergraduate at Yale (Class of 1981) and did graduate work at Cambridge and Harvard University, receiving his PhD from Harvard in 1987. His PhD thesis on X-ray emitting binary stars received the Trumpler award for best North American PhD thesis in astronomy. After three years as a member of Harvard’s Society of Fellows, he returned to Yale as a faculty member in 1990, and has been there ever since, serving six years as Astronomy department chair (1999-2005), and two stints as Director of Undergraduate Studies totalling 10 years. He was on the steering committee of the Committee on Yale College Education, which carried out a complete review of the Yale College undergraduate curriculum from 2001 to 2003, and he served twice as Chair of the Yale College Teaching & Learning Committee.

Professor Bailyn is the author of over 120 refereed scientific papers relating to the observational study of black holes and related sources of X-rays, dense star clusters and the consequences of collisions between stars. His work on measuring the masses of black holes was awarded the 2009 Bruno Rossi prize from the American Astronomical Society. Professor Bailyn has carried out research with a wide variety of ground and space-based telescopes; he is the Principal Scientist of the Small and Moderate Aperture Research Telescope System (SMARTS) which operates four telescopes in Chile, and served as President of WIYN, Inc., which operates two telescopes in Arizona, from 2005 to 2011.

In addition to his research work, Professor Bailyn has developed innovative teaching methods in science courses for non-scientists, and has been awarded the Dylan Hixon Prize, Yale’s highest honour for teaching excellence in the natural sciences. His course “Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics” was selected as one of the first courses to be put online for the public as part of Yale’s “Open Courses” initiative.

Relativistic Astrophysics and related fields

Professor Bailyn’s scientific papers can be found through NASA’s Astrophysical Data System at

He recently published a book entitled What Does a Black Hole Look Like? (2014, Princeton University Press).

Scientific Inquiry

Short courses and lectures on various areas of astrophysics