David Helfand headshot

David J. Helfand

Current Positions
Ex-Officio Delegate, Federation Assembly  

David J. Helfand, a faculty member at Columbia University for forty-one years, served nearly half of that time as Chair of the Department of Astronomy. He is the author of over 200 scientific publications and has mentored 22 PhD students, but most of his pedagogical efforts have been aimed at teaching science to non-science majors. He instituted the first change in Columbia’s Core Curriculum in 60 years by introducing science to all first-year students.

In 2005, he became involved in the effort to create Canada’s first independent, non-profit, secular university, Quest University Canada. He was a Visiting Tutor in the University’s inaugural semester in the Fall of 2007 and served as the institution’s President & Vice-Chancellor from 2008 to 2015. He also recently concluded a four-year term as President of the American Astronomical Society.

He is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Science Counts, an organization formed to communicate to the public the importance and impact of publicly funded fundamental research. His recently book, “A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age” provides the essential tools informed citizens must acquire to combat the tsunami of mis- and dis-information that threatens rational approaches to personal decision-making and the formation of good public policy.