MIT Kavli Institute Directory

Paul L. Schechter

William A. M. Burden Professor of Astrophysics, Emeritus Faculty

Paul Schechter received his undergraduate degree from Cornell in 1968 and his Ph.D. from Caltech in 1975. Before coming to MIT in 1988, he held postdoctoral positions at the Institute for Advanced Study and the University of Arizona, a faculty position at Harvard, and staff positions at Kitt Peak National Observatory and the Carnegie Observatories.

Research interests: 

Professor Schechter is an observational astronomer who studies galaxies and clusters of galaxies and the distribution of dark matter therein. For the last several years, he has been carrying out ground-based optical and Hubble Space Telescope observations of the mirages produced by extragalactic gravitational potentials. Schechter played a major role in the development and implementation of the active optics system for the 6.5-m Magellan Telescopes, located on Cerro Las Campanas in Chile.

Representative publications: 

“Formation of Galaxies and Clusters of Galaxies by Self-Similar Gravitational Condensation,” W. H. Press, P. Schechter, Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 187, pp. 425-438 (1974)
“An Analytic Expression for the Luminosity Function for Galaxies,” P. Schechter, Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 203, p. 297 – 306 (1976),
“DOPHOT, a CCD photometry program: Description and tests,” P. Schechter, M. Mateo, S. Abhijit, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Publications (ISSN 0004-6280), vol. 105, no. 693, p. 1342-1353 (1993),