Dr. Faber is university professor and former chair of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC).  From August 2012 to Jun 2014, she also served as interim director of the University of California Observatories.  Dr. Faber joined the UCSC faculty in 1972 and in 1996 was named university professor, the highest honor for faculty in the UC system.  She is a leading authority on telescopes and astronomical instrumentation and has been closely involved with both the W.M. Keck Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope.  Currently, she is co-principal investigator of CANDELS (Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey), the largest project ever conducted on Hubble, studying the formation and evolution of galaxies from just after the Big Bang to the present era utilizing the Hubble lookback effect.

Dr. Faber has made significant scientific contributions in the areas of structure and formation of elliptical galaxies; the nature, compositions, and motions of stars within a galaxy as related to its mass; and the streaming motions of large numbers of galaxies.  Concepts such as cold dark matter and the Great Attractor are direct results of work by Dr. Faber and her colleagues.  Dr. Faber contributed to the first comprehensive model of how galaxies formed and helped to lay the foundation for the now widely accepted notion that most galaxies have a supermassive black hole at their center.

Dr. Faber is vice chairman of the Board of Annual Reviews, Inc.; trustee emeritus of the SETI Institute; and, until recently, a member of the Harvard University Board of Overseers.  She has served as a board member or advisor on numerous commissions and committees at the National Academy of Sciences and other scientific institutions and organizations.  Dr. Faber edited Nearly Normal Galaxies: From the Planck Time to the Present(1987) and has authored more than 350 journal articles.  She has served on the editorial board and is currently co-editor of the Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Dr. Faber has received many honors for her accomplishments.  In February 2013, President Barack Obama presented her with the National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government upon scientists, engineers, and inventors.  Her other awards include the Karl Schwarzschild Medal from the German Astronomical Society (2012); the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Catherine Wolf Bruce Gold Medal for her lifetime achievements in astronomy (2012); the Franklin Institute’s Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science (2009); Harvard University’s Centennial Medal (2006) and Bart J. Bok Prize (1978); the Medaille de l’Institut d’Astophysique de Paris (2005); the American Astronomical Society’s Heineman Prize for Astrophysics (1985); and election to the National Academy of Sciences (1985), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1989), the California Academy of Sciences (1998), and the American Philosophical Society (2001).  She holds honorary degrees from Swarthmore College (1986) Williams College (1997), the University of Chicago (2006), the University of Pennsylvania (2010), the University of Michigan (2010), and Amherst College (2016).

Dr. Faber earned a BA in physics with high honors from Swarthmore College in 1966 and a PhD in astronomy from Harvard University in 1972.  She completed pre-doctoral studies at Carnegie’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism in 1971 and was named an NSF graduate fellow, Woodrow Wilson graduate fellow, and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation fellow