David J. Helfand is chair of the Department of Astronomy at Columbia University as well as the co-director of the Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory. He has also served as part of the university's Physics Department. His stated research interests include radio surveys, the origin and evolution of neutron stars and supernova remnants, and active galactic nuclei. Recently, Helfand has been instrumental in the creation of general education classes oriented around the sciences, developing a course, Frontiers of Science, that has subsequently become part of the Core Curriculum of Columbia College, the university's undergraduate liberal arts and sciences division.