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NASA physicist Edward J. Wollack has pursued some of the most elusive sources of light by inventing new technologies to explore and understand the universe and our place in it. With his name on 26 patents, Ed Wollack took his place in the NASA Inventors Hall of Fame this year as one of three inductees for the 2022-2023 cycle. He credits his successes to the dozens of scientists and engineers he has collaborated with and an ideal environment to incubate such innovations at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
NASA has chosen Dr. Jane Rigby as the new senior project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope mission. Rigby is an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland, and has worked on the mission for many years. Rigby was one of the three commissioning scientists for Webb. She also led the characterization of Webb’s science performance. She is an active researcher studying how galaxies form stars, and leads one of Webb's Early Release Science programs. She steps in after John Mather, who held the position for almost 28 years since 1995. Mather is moving on to senior project scientist emeritus for Webb at NASA.
2023 Poster Party Blowout winners announced
We had over 175 posters from all four science divisions, as well as a few select entries from the Engineering and Technology Directorate. As one of the few yearly events that brings together the whole Sciences and Exploration Directorate, the large turnout (including GSFC and HQ VIPs) and collaborative communication made the event a great success! While there were so many fantastic contributions, awards were given for outstanding posters in 5 categories:
- Best Poster Title:
Francesco Civilini (690.1) - How to Train your Lander: Automatic moonquake detection using machine learning
- Best Graphic Design:
Douglas Rowland (675) - The Geospace Dynamics Constellation mission: NASA's next Living With a Star mission to explore the upper atmosphere
- Best Science as Food:
Maryam Rahmani (665) - Cosmic Microwave Background/Line Intensity Mapping cake and jell-o
- Best Science Story:
Shipra Sinha (670) - The Mystery of Magnetospheric Substorms
- Piers Sellers Interdisciplinary Award:
Erin Delaria (614) - The NASA Carbon Airborne Flux Experiment (CARAFE): Observations of Greenhouse Gas Exchange in the Florida Everglades
Jonathan Gardner of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, was selected as a 2023 Fellow of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) for extraordinary achievement and service. He is being recognized for exceptional community service and scientific leadership of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope science teams, leading to Webb’s flight hardware exceeding all of its requirements.
Dr. Jonathan Gardner Selected as the Winner of the 2022 John C. Lindsay Memorial Award for Space Science.
Dr. Gardner is being recognized for his exceptional scientific leadership of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Science Teams. He is the Deputy Senior Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, a position he has held since 2002 at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
Dr. Jane Rigby from the Astrophysics Science Division and Project Scientist for Operations for the James Webb Space Telescope, will receive the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) Fred Kavli Plenary Lectureship award at the 241st AAS meeting in Seattle, Washington, on Jan. 9, 2023.
With support from the Kavli Foundation, the vice presidents of the AAS name a special invited lecturer to kick off each semiannual AAS meeting with a presentation on recent research of great importance.
2022 Robert H. Goddard Award Winners
Congratulations to all the 660 winners of the Robert H. Goddard awards:
Rita M Sambruna (660) - Diversity & Inclusion and EEO Team
LISA Telescope Team (663) - Engineering
Jonathan P Gardner (665) - Leadership
Kimberly A Weaver (662) - Leadership
Eric R Switzer (665) - Mentoring
Sibasish Laha (661) - Science
Maurice A Leutenegger (662) - Science
Tonia Moira Venters (661) - Science
Ellie Jeffries (660) - Secretarial & Clerical
Travis James Coffroad (662) - Technician
Astronomy Picture of the Day has been honored by the International Astronomical Union in the organization's inaugural round of outreach prizes. The website, created and run by Goddard’s Jerry Bonnell and Robert Nemiroff at Michigan Technological University, has served up daily astronomical images for 27 years, is available in 20 languages, and is seen by millions throughout the world. The award will be presented at the IAU General Assembly in Busan, South Korea, in August.
Out to Innovate's LGBTQ+ Scientist of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to their field through design, research, or management. This year’s award winner is Dr. Jane Rigby, an astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Operations Project Scientist for NASA’s JWST. In addition to her work with JWST, Rigby and her team at NASA, with international collaborators, have led many successful research campaigns, collecting data from the Keck and Magellan Observatories and the Hubble Space Telescope. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications. She also has given countless professional and public presentations on her research and on JWST and served on the 2020 Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics for the National Academies. Rigby has been recognized for her research, mentorship, and diversity-related work with awards such as the John C. Lindsay Memorial Award for Space Science.
2021 Agency Honor Awards
NASA announced its 2021 Agency Honor Awards this week. Included are several ASD scientists. Caroline Kilbourne (662) and Joan Centrella (660/retired) have won the Distinguished Service Medal, the Agency’s highest award. Mike Corcoran (662/CUA) has won the Exceptional Public Service Medal. Tom Barclay (667/UMBC) was awarded the Early Career Achievement Medal. Knicole Colon (667), Floyd Stecker (663), Eliahu Dwek (665/retired), and Eleonora Troja (661/UMCP) have won the Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal. The XRISM Resolve Dewar Leak Investigation Team won a Group Achievement Award. Congratulations to all!
Congratulations to the Robert H. Goddard Award Winners from ASD
Congratulations to ASD staff who were announced this past week as winners of the Robert H. Goddard awards. Individual winners include Knicole Colón for mentoring and Barbara Mattson for outreach. Keith Gendreau was selected for the Award of Merit. The JWST NIRSpec IRS2 Algorithm Team was named a winner of the RHG science award.
Robert H. Goddard Award Winners
Congratulations to all the 660 winners of the Robert H. Goddard awards:
Caroline Kilbourne – Award of Merit
Eli Dwek – Award of Merit
Julie McEnery – Leadership
Elisa Quintana – Leadership, Mentoring (two awards!)
Stephen Rinehart – Leadership
Aki Roberge – Leadership
Josh Schleider – Leadership
Sheila Rahming – Secretarial/Clerical
Petrus Bult – Science
Jeremy Schnittman – Science
Will Zhang – Science
TESS Science Support Center Team – Science Teams
Origins Space Telescope Mission Concept Study Team – Science Teams
LUVOIR Science and Technology Definition Team – Science Teams
First AAS Fellows include ASD Scientists
The Fellows program of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), the major organization of professional astronomers in North America, was established in 2019 to honor members for their contributions toward the AAS mission of enhancing and sharing humanity's scientific understanding of the universe. The following members of ASD were honored among the first group of AAS Fellows, announced Feb. 25:
Jean Hebb Swank
Photos from this year's Poster Blowout are available now. Congratulations to everyone, especially this year's winners!
2018 John C. Lindsay Award for Space Science
Jane Rigby is the winner of the 2018 John C. Lindsay Award for Space Science. Jane is being recognized for her leadership on the Magellan Evolution of Galaxies Spectroscopic and Ultraviolet Reference Atlas (Megasaura). Jane has led the Megasaura project since its inception in 2010.
Note from the Director:
I would like to thank the Director’s Science Committee for putting on an amazingly successful event where scientists and engineers across Goddard shared their work and made new contacts. The interdisciplinary interactions were especially exciting and crossed all four science disciplines.
Click the title of this news item or the image below for more images from the poster party.
Congratulations to Charles Bennett, Gary Hinshaw, Norman Jarosik, Lyman Page Jr., David Spergel and the WMAP Science Team for winning the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics
Congratulations to Charles Bennett, Gary Hinshaw, Norman Jarosik, Lyman Page Jr., David Spergel and the WMAP Science Team for winning the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics on Dec. 3! The citation reads: “For detailed maps of the early universe that greatly improved our knowledge of the evolution of the cosmos and the fluctuations that seeded the formation of galaxies.” The Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was founded in 2012 by Yuri Milner to recognize those individuals who have made profound contributions to human knowledge. The team also includes:
Chris Barnes, Olivier Doré, Joanna Dunkley, Ben Gold, Michael Greason, Mark Halpern, Robert Hill, Al Kogut, Eiichiro Komatsu, David Larson, Michele Limon, Stephan Meyer, Michael Nolta, Nils Odegard, Hiranya Peiris, Kendrick Smith, Greg Tucker, Licia Verde, Janet Weiland, Ed Wollack, and Ned Wright
Congratulations to the many ASD members who were involved in the exciting gravitational wave and electromagnetic counterpart discovery of merging neutron stars, and the subsequent media activity around the discovery!
Scott Barthelmy - Gamma-ray Coordinates Network system
Eric Burns - Fermi gamma ray burst study
Jordan Camp – GSFC LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) PI
Brad Cenko - Swift PI
Tito Dal Canton - Gravitational wave localization maps; Virgo, joint LIGO/Virgo-Fermi-GBM study
Amy Lien - Swift follow up study
Julie McEnery - Fermi Project Scientist
Frank Marshall - Swift follow up study
Judy Racusin - Fermi gamma ray burst study, Swift follow-up study
Leo Singer - Gravitational wave localization maps, GROWTH follow-up study, joint LIGO/Virgo-Fermi-GBM study
Eleonora Troja - Chandra & HST follow-up, Swift follow-up study
Elizabeth Ferrara - Fermi social media
Barb Mattson - Traditional & social media coordination
Sara Mitchell - Social media coordination & content creation
Brian Monroe - Animator
Frank Reddy - Cross-organizational coordination & writer for nasa.gov press release
Claire Saravia - Live shots
Amber Straughn - ASD Associate Director
Dewayne Washington - HQ/GSFC coordination
Scott Wiessinger - Video & multimedia
Congratulations to the Astrophysics Science Division scientists who are PIs and Co-Is on the recently announced Astrophysics Missions of Opportunity and Medium-Class Explorer missions!
- ISS-TAO (Transient Astrophysics Observer on the ISS), a Mission of Opportunity proposal submitted to the 2016 Explorer opportunity, was selected for a Phase A study. ISS-TAO team members include PI Jordan Camp (663), Scott Barthelmy (661), Rob Petre (662), Judy Racusin (661), Brad Cenko (661), Frank Marshall (661), Jeremy Schnittman (663), Andy Ptak (662), and Amy Lien (661), Leo Singer (661), and Tod Strohmeyer (662). ISS-TAO is a wide-field X-ray transient detector aboard the International Space Station that would observe numerous events per year of X-ray transients related to compact objects. The mission’s primary goal is the detection of X-ray counterparts to gravitational waves produced by neutron stars merging with black holes and other neutron stars. Other targets would be supernova shocks, neutron star bursts, and high redshift gamma-ray bursts.
- Rob Petre (662), Andy Ptak (662), Alan Smale (660), and Lynne Valencic (662) are co-Is on Arcus (PI Randall Smith, SAO), selected as a concept study for a Medium-Class Explorer mission. Arcus would study stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies using high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy to characterize the interactions between these objects and the diffuse million-degrees gas that surrounds and permeates them.
- Alan Smale (660) and Terri Brandt (661) are collaborators on COSI-X (PI Steve Boggs/UCB), selected as a concept study for an Explorer Mission of Opportunity. COSI-X is a balloon-borne, wide-field-of-view telescope designed to survey the gamma-ray sky at 0.2-5 MeV, performing high-resolution spectroscopy, wide-field imaging, and polarization measurements. COSI-X would map gamma-rays from antimatter around the Milky Way's center, as well as from newly-formed radioactive elements in the debris of stellar explosions.
"Our center has lost a dear friend and astronomy pioneer, and his spirit will always live on in our work, said Goddard Center Director Chris Scolese. "Those of us who were fortunate to work with Neil know of his unwavering enthusiasm for science and unselfish generosity in mentoring others."
Neil Gehrels was posthumously awarded the $1 million 2017 Dan David Prize for "being the principal investigator of NASA's Swift Gamma Ray Burst Mission, which has transformed our view of the transient and variable sky in gamma-rays and in X-rays." Neil is one of three laureates announced this year in the field of astronomy. The Dan David Prize is headquartered at Tel Aviv University.
2017 Rossi Prize: Gabriela González and LIGO Scientific Collaboration
The 2017 Rossi Prize has been awarded to Gabriela González at Louisiana State University and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration for "the first direct detections of gravitational waves, for the discovery of merging black hole binaries, and beginning the new era of gravitational-wave astronomy." The collaboration includes more than 1,000 scientists from more than 90 institutions around the world. ASD members are:
Tito Dal Canton
Congratulations to the High Resolution Mid-InfrarEd Spectrometer (HIRMES) team on the selection of their instrument for SOFIA.
The 2016 Science Jamboree was a great success! A collection of 50 photos from the event are available now.
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