BSC Office of Communications

Your News Source for the Hilltop

December 17, 2003

Birmingham-Southern professor elected president of Birmingham Astronomical Society

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Dr. Duane Pontius Jr., assistant professor of physics at Birmingham-Southern College, has been elected president of the Birmingham Astronomical Society.

The society promotes astronomy among Alabamians and has for 25 years provided a forum for amateur enthusiasts to come together and share knowledge about the night sky.

“I certainly wouldn't claim to be an expert on all of astronomy, but that's the beauty of an organization like this,” said Pontius. Each member brings his or her own expertise, which provides a ready resource for everyone else, from novices trying to choose their first telescope to seasoned veterans arguing over technical details about eyepieces.”

Prior to coming to BSC, Pontius worked as a researcher in theoretical physics studying satellites and the magnetic field of Jupiter, as well as other topics in space weather. Although he still receives funding from NASA for his ongoing research in those fields, he says his decision to teach at a liberal arts college was motivated by his desire to “bring science down to Earth.”

“It's crucial to bring the profound insights of modern science to young students eager to learn about them,” he said. “In that same way, the Birmingham Astronomical Society provides an expanded opportunity for me to interact regularly with the general public and share what I've learned.”

Joining the Birmingham-Southern faculty in 1999, Pontius received his bachelor's degree from BSC and his doctorate in space physics and astronomy from Rice University.

Birmingham Astronomical Society meetings are usually held the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Samford University Planetarium and are open to the public. For more information, go to

Close Window