The program


Prof. Shadia Rifai Habbal

Astronomer - Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii


Professor Habbal is currently a professor at the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawaii. In addition to her responsibilities as a faculty member, she is currently serving a third term as Faculty Chair, an unprecedented tenure in the history of the Institute. The focus of her research is the physics of the solar corona and solar wind. She has been leading a unique research program, where by capitalizing on the ideal observing conditions afforded by total solar eclipses, she has taken advantage of the exceptional diagnostic power of emission from the excited state of heavy ions. She has also led 10 solar eclipse expeditions, and her and her team at the Hawaii Institute for Astronomy took part in the observation of solar corona during eclipse in association with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 2006, 2008 and 2009. She also played a key role in establishing the NASA Solar Probe Plus.

Professor Habbal received her Bachelors of Science in Physics and Math from the University of Damascus. She then received a Master’s in Physics from the American University of Beirut before receiving her doctoral degree from the University of Cincinnati. She completed a one-year advanced study program (ASP) term at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and then joined the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where she established a research group in solar-terrestrial physics, a position she kept until 2000. She previously held a faculty position in the Institute of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Wales and was a Lecturer at Harvard University.

In 2002, Professor Habbal was appointed editor in the Journal of Geophysical Research, Space Physics Section. She is a member of many professional bodies including the American Astronomical Society, the International Astronomical Union, the Hawaii Institute for Astronomy as well as being a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. She has received numerous accolades for her contributions, including the Pioneer Award from the Arab Thought Foundation, the 2004 NASA Group Achievement Award, the Spartan 201 White Light Coronagraph Team Award, and the Adventurous Women Lecture Series Award.