(1957- ) Scottish Astrophysicist
Rosemary Wyse has weighed in with her expert opinion on some of the most problematic issues in modern astrophysics—galaxy bulges and dark matter. With both issues, she has not taken sides with competing theories; rather, she has continued to conduct research that reveals the complexity of galactic structure, which individual theories cannot fully contain. In 1986, the American Association of University Women granted her the ANNIE JUMP CANNON Award, the most prestigious prize for women astronomers.
Wyse was born on January 26, 1957, in Scotland. She studied physics and astrophysics at Queen Mary College of the University of London, where she earned her bachelor of science degree with first-class honors in 1977. She then pursued graduate study in theoretical physics in the department of applied mathematics at the University of Cambridge, passing part three of the mathematics Tripos examination (the equivalent of a master’s degree) with distinction in 1978.
Wyse supported her doctoral study at the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge through a series of scholarships and fellowships: She held the Bachelor Scholarship at Emmanuel College from 1978 through 1981; the Amelia Earhart Fellowship of ZONTA International from 1981 through 1982; and the Linde-mann Fellowship of the English Speaking Union of the Commonwealth from 1982 through 1983. That year, she received her Ph.D. from Cambridge in astrophysics.
Wyse spent the next five years in postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California at Berkeley. She first held the Parisot Postdoctoral Fellowship from 1983 through 1985; then from 1985 through 1987, she held two subsequent University of California President’s Fellowships. In 1986, she held a concurrent postdoctoral research fellowship in academic affairs with the Space Telescope Science Institute.
In 1988, Johns Hopkins University hired Wyse as an assistant professor in its Department of Physics and Astronomy In 1990, Hopkins promoted her to associate professor. That same year, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation granted her a two-year fellowship. In 1993, Hopkins appointed her to a full professorship, a title she has retained since then.
Wyse has collaborated fruitfully throughout her career, starting at Cambridge, when she worked with mentor Bernard T. Jones on the structure and formation of elliptical galaxies. Together, they published “The Formation of Disc Galaxies” in the April 1983 edition of Astronomy and Astrophysics, among other journal articles. Even as she studied at Berkeley, Wyse maintained her Cambridge connections, collaborating with Gerard Gilmore to determine the distribution of metals heavier than hydrogen and helium in the Milky Way. They published “The Chemical Evolution of the Galaxy” under his name first in the August 28, 1986, edition of Nature and “The Structure of the Galaxy” under her name first in the June 1990 edition of the Annals of the New York Academy of Science.
At Berkeley (and thereafter), Wyse collaborated with Joseph Silk on star formation rates, which build from her work on the chemical composition and structure of galaxies. At Johns Hopkins, she has contributed to the academic dialogue on galaxy bulges and dark matter. In 1994, she published her own theories on the latter issue in an article entitled, “Dark Matter in the Galaxy,” which appeared in the International Journal of Modern Physics. Wyse continues to search for answers to the perplexities of the universe.