Martha Haynes joined the Cornell faculty in 1983. A native of the Boston area, she graduated from Wellesley College and received her doctoral degree from Indiana University. She undertook her dissertation research as a graduate student in residence at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, VA.
Before coming to Cornell, she was a scientific staff member first at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and then at NRAO's Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia. After living in rural Puerto Rico and Pocahontas County, WV, she considers Ithaca a metropolis.
Martha and her husband, Astronomy Professor Riccardo Giovanelli, lead the Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA (ALFALFA) survey, an on-going project to map 1/4 of the sky using the huge Arecibo radio telescope (featured in the films "Contact" and "Golden Eye") in a search for "starless" galaxies, objects which consist primarily of dark matter with a trace of gas (which ALFALFA might detect), but no optically visible starlight.
Martha regularly teaches two undergrad classes, Astro 201 and Astro 233, as well as several graduate ones. When not teaching or hunting "dark galaxies, she is a fan of black-and-white movies, mystery novels, and spending time at their stone farmhouse in a tiny village in the hills of northern Italy.