Tombaugh Postdoctoral Fellowship

The Clyde and Patricia Tombaugh Endowed Chair in the Department of Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University was esetablished in 2009, amalgamating several separate funds that had been established in the early 1990s: the Tombaugh Scholars Fund, the Tombaugh Scholars Program, the Clyde W. Tombaugh Lectureship, and the Clyde W. Tombaugh Professorships.

This is an endowed fund. Per the foundation document, the income should be used to provide a salary supplement to a visiting faculty or scholar member in the Department of Astronomy. In practice, the Department has used this fund to support postdoctoral researchers to come work in the Department for two or more years.

The endowment is not currently large enough to support a continuous stream of postdoctoral assistants. Each year, a committee determines, given the earnings on the account, whether it is advisable to advertise for a new Tombaugh Scholar. If so, the entire Department reaches an agreement on a job description that is posted to the general community.

Additional contributions to the fund are always welcomed, as we would love to build the endowment to a point where we could offer a Tombaugh Scholars position continuously. To make a donation, see ; select “Search for a fund not listed” and search for Tombaugh, and you will see the entry for the Clyde and Patricia Tombaugh Endowed Chair.

Previous Tombaugh Scholar recipients:

Anatoly Klypin, 1993-1994

Lisa Young, 1997-1999

Nancy Chanover, 2001-2003

Chris Belczynski, 2004-2007

Young Sun Lee, 2012-2014


Original text from donation certificate:

On 18 February 1930, Clyde Tombaugh discovered the ninth planet in our solar system – Pluto. This discovery came after an arduous investigation of nearly four million star-like images. Additional results of Dr. Tombaugh’s work include a number of previously unknown star clusters, thousands of new asteroids and variable stars, and the patchy distribution of the external galaxies.

The purpose of the Tombaugh Scholars Program is to provide young space scientists with the financial support necessary to pursue their own dreams of discovery. This certification, personally signed by Dr. Tombaugh, recognizes your participation in the this project.