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CXC Biographies: Dr. Belinda Wilkes
Former Director, Chandra X-ray Center

Dr. Wilkes served as Director of the Chandra X-Ray Center (CXC) at the Smithsonian Astrophsycial Observatory in Cambridge, Mass. from 2014-2020. The CXC is responsible for operating the Chandra X-Ray Observatory in orbit, for supporting the broad community of scientists who observe with Chandra, and for disseminating the Chandra science results to the public.

Belinda Wilkes assumed the directorship of the Chandra X-ray Center on April 20, 2014.

Dr. Wilkes has served as the CXC Assistant Director for the past 12 years. She is well known to Chandra's international user community particularly through her leadership of the annual Chandra Peer Review. Prior to her current position, Dr. Wilkes served as Deputy Group Leader of the Chandra User Support Group. From 1990 to 1995 she was Lead Data Verification Scientist for the ROSAT Science Data Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), and before that she supported validation and verification of the Einstein X-ray Observatory data reprocessing. She is a distinguished and highly cited research scientist with 145 papers in refereed journals.

Dr. Wilkes's primary science interests are X-ray and multi-wavelength studies of quasars along with lower luminosity active galactic nuclei. She has successfully competed for observing time on three of NASA’s Great Observatories — Chandra, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Spitzer Space Telescope — as well as many other space-based and ground-based facilities.

As an active member of the science community, she has served on a wide range of committees including the AAS HEAD Executive Committee, the Astrophysics Subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council, the NRC/SSB Review Panel on NASA's SMD Science Plan, and various user and advisory committees and review panels for space and ground-based telescopes.

Dr. Wilkes received her B. Sc. (Hons.) from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and her Ph. D. from Cambridge University, England. Before coming to SAO she held a NATO Post-doctoral Fellowship at Steward Observatory, University of Arizona. She is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Cambridge Philosophical Society, and a member of the American Astronomical Society and the International Astronomical Union. She has received several NASA Group Achievement awards, the NASA MSFC Director's Commendation, and many Smithsonian Institution awards including the Exceptional Accomplishment Award.

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