Professor Robert Charles Kennicutt, Jr. FRS is the Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. In Cambridge he has also served as the Director of the Institute of Astronomy (2008-2011), and as the Head of the School of the Physical Sciences (2012-2015). He earned his PhD from the University of Washington in 1978, and has held faculty positions at the University of Minnesota (1980-1988) and the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory (1988-2007). He also served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Astrophysical Journal (1999-2006).
Kennicutt was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001, a Member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 2011. He has served as Vice President of the American Astronomical Society, which also awarded him its Dannie Heineman Prize in Astrophysics in 2007.
Professor Kennicutt's research has focussed on observations of nearby galaxies aimed at understanding their star formation and evolution, and on calibrating the extragalactic distance scale. With Wendy Freedman and Jeremy Mould he served as Co-PI of the Hubble Space Telescope Extragalactic Distance Scale Key Project, for which the trio received the 2009 Gruber Cosmology Prize. Kennicutt has also led a number of international legacy projects using the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Herschel Space Observatory, and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer.