John A. Graham
Staff Scientist Emeritus

John A. Graham

Research Interests

Star formation; structure and evolution of galaxies; variable stars


B.S., University of Sydney, 1961 Ph.D., Australian National University, 1964

Contact & Links

  • (301) 654-0842 | fax: (202) 478-8821
  • jgraham at
  • Earth and Planets Laboratory
    Carnegie Institution for Science
    5241 Broad Branch Road, NW
    Washington, DC 20015-1305
  • Curriculum Vitae


John Graham was active in a variety of astronomical societies over the years, among them the American Astronomical Society, where he was Vice President between 1984 and 1986, and Secretary between 2003 and 2009. He has been a long-time member of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, where he was on the Board of Directors and chaired its editorial board from 1988 to 1991. Concurrent with his work at Carnegie, he served as a program director for the Division of Astronomical Sciences at the National Science Foundation from 2000 to 2001.

He is now an Emeritus Staff Member at DTM. Prior to moving to emeritus status, he was mostly interested in star formation in the Milky Way and in external galaxies.

In our Milky Way galaxy, star formation is believed to be triggered by shocks generated during supernova outbursts-the spectacular explosions that end a star's life. However, in these cases the supernova, its remnant, and the attendant shocks have long disappeared by the time the new stars manifest themselves about a million years later. In the radio galaxy Cen A, in contrast, we can see both the triggering mechanism and the consequent star formation at the same time because of the long life of the radio jet.