Foothill College Astronomy Professor ANDREW FRAKNOI, known for his skill in interpreting astronomical discoveries and ideas in everyday language, teaches introductory astronomy and “physics for poets” classes that enroll between 800 and 900 Foothill students enroll each year. Fraknoi has also given more than 500 public lectures throughout the U.S. on such topics as What Were the Atoms in Your Body Doing 8 Billion Years Ago? and Black Holes and Space Warps.
Educated at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley, Fraknoi has also taught astronomy and physics at San Francisco State University, City College of San Francisco, Cañada College, and several campuses of the University of California Extension Division.
Radio listeners know Fraknoi as a guest on local and national news and talk programs. In Northern California, he is a regular on the Gil Gross program on KKSF, and on KQED’s Forum with Michael Krasny. Fraknoi appeared for more than 25 years on KGO’s Jim Eason Show and Pete Wilson Show, and was the astronomer-in-residence on the syndicated Mark & Brian Show out of Los Angeles. Nationally, he has been heard on NPR’s Science Friday and Weekend All Things Considered. His television appearances include The Today Show, MSNBC, CBS Morning News and Larry King Live.
A prolific author, Fraknoi edited several books for teachers and wrote Disney’s Wonderful World of Space, a book for kids. His new book, Solar Science, written with Dennis Schatz, is full of 45 hands-on activities about the Sun, the seasons, the Moon, eclipses, and more. It’s designed to help get educators and their students ready for the “All-American” eclipse of the Sun on August 21, 2017. The college textbook, Astronomy, for which he is the lead author, has just been published by OpenStax as a free book for college students around the world, part of a project at Rice University (supported by the Gates Foundation) to make college more affordable.
His interest in astronomically correct science fiction for teaching has led Fraknoi to begin writing science fiction. His first story was published in an anthology called Building Red: Mission Mars and a second story will be published in anthology by Springer later this year.
In addition to serving 14 years as the Executive Director of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Fraknoi currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, and on the Lick Observatory Council. He was selected as the 2007 California Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Endowment for Higher Education. Asteroid 4859 has been named Asteroid Fraknoi by the International Astronomical Union to honor his work in sharing the excitement of modern astronomy with students, teachers and the public. But he wants to assure everyone that it is a boring asteroid in the main belt, and no danger to Earth and its inhabitants.
MORE INFO: www.foothill.edu/ast/fraknoi.php