Robert Kennicutt is Emeritus Professor at the University of Cambridge and currently holds visiting appointments at Steward Observatory (University of Arizona) and the Mitchell Institute (Texas A&M University).
Kennicutt received his Bachelor degree in Physics at RPI, followed by Master's and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Washington. After holding a Carnegie Fellowship at the Hale Observatory and Caltech he moved on to faculty positions at the University of Minnesota and the University of Arizona, before coming to Cambridge as Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy in 2005. While at Cambridge he also served as the Director of the Institute of Astronomy (2008-2011) and as the Head (Dean) of the School of the Physical Sciences (2012-2015). He retired from the University of Cambridge in 2017. Previously he also served for seven years as Editor-in-Chief of The Astrophysical Journal.
Kennicutt has published more than 400 refereed papers, mainly in observational extragalactic astronomy. His primary research interests have been evolutionary processes in nearby galaxies such as star formation and chemical evolution, and the calibration of the extragalactic distance scale. This work has exploited observations across the electromagnetic spectrum from groundbased and spacebased telescopes. Results of this research have included widely used calibrations of star formation rate measures of galaxies, and calibration of some of the commonly used scaling laws for the star formation rate. He has led or co-led several major international legacy projects including the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxies Survey (SINGS) and Local Volume Legacy (LVL), the Herschel Space Observatory KINGFISH survey, the GALEX 11 Mpc H-alpha and Ultraviolet Galaxy Survey (11HUGS), and the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project on the extragalactic distance scale. In 2008 he received the AAS/AIP Dannie Heineman Prize in recognition of his work on star formation in galaxies, and in 2009 he shared the Gruber Cosmology Prize with Wendy Freedman and Jeremy Mould for their leadership of the H0 Key Project. He is a fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Royal Society of London.