Sandra Moore Faber

Profile Updated: February 28, 2016
Sandra Moore
Sandra Moore


Sandra Moore


Sandra Moore


Yes! Attending Reunion
Residing In: Monte Sereno, CA USA
Spouse/Partner: Andrew L. Faber '67
Children and grandchildren: Robin Faber Pool and husband Steve, Charlotte, NC
Holly Faber Tse and husband Scott, Portland, OR
More… Colton, age 4
Roxy, age 2
Open Category for whatever you wish to tell about yourself in whatever way.

Just now retiring from 45 years as astronomer at leading observatory. Interested now in sustainability, astronomy-style.

Further Comments about Spouse/Partner or Relationship history:

Happily married for 48 years to Andy Faber, a Swarthmore Physics major, now attorney in San Jose.

Education History since Swarthmore:

PhD, Harvard, astronomy, 1972

Career History

Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Astronomer/staff member at the Lick Observatory, which became the University of California Observatories. Helped create the Keck Observatory (world's largest and most productive), worked on Hubble Space Telescope (diagnosed optical flaw), built big spectrograph for Keck, developed standard theory of galaxy formation, led surveys of galaxies in distant universe, spent last two years as Interim Director of University of California Observatories. I am very lucky that the taxpayers of the United States of America and the state of California were generous enough to fund the research that I wanted to do.

What might surprise us about you or your activities?

I have not done much other than raise family and work very hard on regular career. No time for anything else. Hence, few surprises.

Memories from time at Swarthmore

Met my spouse (the Quaker matchbox!). Discovered that there were other people in the world who were nerds like me, and that I liked them. Seminars were the ideal learning environment. Physics labs were where I learned how to turn data into conclusions. The campus was beautiful every day of the year. It is hard to overstate how absolutely "at home" I felt there, for the first time in my life.

Memories: playing stretch and putting the knife into a crack less than an inch wide; frisbee at sunset in front of Dupont; making out in a sleeping bag in the Crum; home-made desserts at seminars in professors homes; wonderful conversations over dinner in the dining hall.

Community Service, Volunteer Activities, Hobbies, Interests, Retirement Activities:

As noted, went full bore in career and slighted all these other valuable things. Retirement is time to start something new, but I have not found it yet. Still finishing up old research. If I am not careful, that could go on forever.

Books, Creative Products, Athletic Achievements:

634 scientific articles garnering 49,000 citations.

Spiritual Practice and Openings, if any?

Nothing formal. Finding our species' proper place in the Universe is my spiritual quest. Astronomy has been the foundation for that.

Favorite quote, poem, humorous statement, or words of wisdom

"To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour."

William Blake

The most concise statement of the essential unity of the cosmos that
I have ever seen.

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Feb 28, 2016 at 4:31 PM
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Feb 23, 2016 at 5:46 PM
Sandra Moore Faber has left an In Memory comment for her Profile.
Feb 02, 2016 at 4:33 PM

Physics Lab with Howard Mindus

Second only to my future husband Andy, I probably spent more hours in Howard Mindus’s company than any other male at Swarthmore. Howie and I were fellow physics majors and, for three years, lab partners. Discovering a special compatibility as sophomores, Howie and I paired off and did every lab together for the following three years—dozens of them. Labs meant spending one whole day a week together from 9 AM until sometimes midnight—puzzling out directions, assembling equipment, chasing down parts, taking data, and finally deriving answers. Intense, frustrating, yet often exhilarating, these all-day labs were the glory of theSwarthmore physics program.

Together, Howie and I explored this terra incognita. Just as expeditionary team members form a close bond, we got to know each other well—and for similar reasons. There is a special satisfaction that grows from solving problems together, and, while labs were not dangerous, there was anxiety as physics faculty tapped their feet impatiently late at night while we scrambled to finish. Howie and I learned to depend on each other.

I remember him as a simply wonderful person—always pitching in, doing his share, trying hard to understand, trying to move us along. He came thoroughly prepared in the morning with a zest to get going. Naturally, we made a lot of mistakes, but these were taken in stride—“Once more, with feeling” was his motto, even if it was the tenth time through. Above all, he was cheerful, with an optimism and good humor that made light of every disaster with a joke and every triumph with a small shrug. We laughed a lot.

Looking back, I see how lucky I was as a girl to have Howie as a lab partner. In those days, women in science still felt like ducks in a desert, and I was no exception. A marvelous thing about Howie was his complete acceptance—one might say obliviousness—to my being female. He willingly took turns with both the notepad and the screwdriver. Indeed, I realize now that Howie set the tone for all my future relationships in science. His message that I should simply do my job without fuss and fanfare was a key lesson that came at a key time.

It is somewhat sobering to admit that I did not perceive the importance of Howie’s friendship until I received word that he had died. There comes at that time a strong need to put the pieces together and make an assessment. I wish now that I had said some of these things to Howie while he could have enjoyed them. In being one of the first of my friends to pass away, I think that Howie has taught me yet another lesson.

Feb 23, 2016 at 5:31 PM

Posted on: Dec 28, 2015 at 9:42 PM

Truly astronomical number of articles and cites. My own theory of our place in universe is we are "special specks." Should be some good discussions at reunion, yes? Am in awe of your achievements!

Sandra Moore Faber has a birthday today.
Dec 28, 2015 at 4:33 AM
Sandra Moore Faber added a comment on her Profile. New comment added.
Dec 21, 2015 at 2:24 PM

Posted on: Dec 21, 2015 at 2:24 PM

Posted: Feb 23, 2016 at 5:49 PM
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