Telescope Scientists Share Goddard Award
GREENBELT, Md., Nov. 18, 2010 — Three employees of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have received the 2010 Robert H. Goddard Award for Science. The award was bestowed upon Matt Greenhouse, Randy Kimble and Alexander Moiseev for outstanding work at the center.
“These scientists are very deserving of recognition for their efforts to get the best science out of three of NASA’s premier astronomy missions: Hubble, Fermi and the James Webb Space Telescope (under construction),” said William R. Oegerle, director of the astrophysics science division at NASA Goddard. “Their success comes from a deep understanding of both the science and the instrumentation.”
Alexander Moiseev is a lead scientist for the Fermi Space Telescope’s Large Area Telescope (LAT) AntiCoincidence Detector, one of the LAT subsystems. (Images: NASA)
The Goddard Award is named in honor of Robert H. Goddard, pioneer in the field of rocketry. In 1926, Dr. Goddard’s first liquid fuel rocket was launched in Auburn, Mass. Larger-scale experiments and a skeptical local government made it necessary for Goddard, who was to become recognized as the father of the US space program, to move to New Mexico in 1930. There, he carried on a series of tests until 1942, at which time he was called to Washington as chief of Navy research on jet-propelled planes. This award has been bestowed on 112 alumni since 1961.
Matthew Greenhouse has served on the James Webb Space Telescope senior staff as project scientist for the science instrument payload since 1997. He received the award for his excellent leadership of the Webb telescope instrument teams around the world. Those teams are located in the US, Canada and Europe. Greenhouse provides scientific oversight for NASA Goddard’s contributions to the Webb telescope in the area of analysis and testing of detectors and microshutters (an instrument on the telescope), and he works with the instrument teams to ensure problems are solved and scientific requirements are met.
Greenhouse specializes in infrared imaging spectroscopy, development of related instrumentation and technologies, flight project science and technical management. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in geoscience. He received a PhD in physics from the University of Wyoming in 1989. When he’s not working, Matt is an avid sailor in Annapolis, Md., where he lives with his wife and two children.
“It has been an honor and privilege to work on the Webb telescope,” Greenhouse said. “I am very proud of the performance that its science instrument teams and the Goddard team have exhibited to bring the integrated instrument module to the point of flight model testing.”
Randy Kimble is currently the integration and test project scientist working on the Webb telescope. He was presented the Goddard award for exceptional achievement in the development of the Wide-Field Camera 3 (WFC3) for the Hubble Space Telescope, installed in 2009 on Hubble during servicing mission 4. The performance of the camera in-orbit is remarkable, fully meeting or exceeding expectations.
Randy played a leading role in making sure that near-IR detectors with high quantum efficiency were included in WFC3, as well as providing overall leadership of the instrument development. In fact, the NIR camera is more than 40 times more efficient than the Hubble’s previous-generation infrared imager, NICMOS.
Randy’s research interests are in astronomical instrumentation (particularly detectors), as well as in star formation and stellar populations, ultraviolet background radiation and the interstellar medium.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT, Kimble received his MA in physics and his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, then spent some years on the research staff of the physics and astronomy department at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he was deputy project scientist for the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope during its development and flight on the Astro-1 space shuttle mission. He joined Goddard in 1990 and has worked on both Hubble and the Webb telescope. He received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 1998 and was inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame in 1997. When he’s not working, Randy enjoys reading, biking and softball. He and his wife live in Columbia, Md., and they have two daughters.
“After years of ups and downs for the project (including a temporary cancellation of the servicing mission in its entirety), it is very gratifying for the entire WFC3 team to see the camera working so well and fulfilling its scientific potential in flight,” Kimble said.
Alexander Moiseev is a lead scientist for the Fermi Space Telescope’s Large Area Telescope (LAT) AntiCoincidence Detector, one of the LAT subsystems. He received the Goddard award because of his development of analysis methods to measure high-energy electrons with the Fermi LAT instrument. This led to the unexpected observations that the spectrum of very high energy electrons is much flatter than expected by conventional models of electron production and diffusion in the galaxy. The resulting article in Physics Review Letters is the most widely cited Fermi paper to date.
Moiseev’s interests lie in experimental high-energy astrophysics, cosmic antimatter, high-energy gamma-ray astronomy, and experimental techniques in particle physics.
After graduating from Moscow Engineering Physics Institute in 1976, Moiseev started working in the cosmic physics laboratory of that institute as a research assistant. He was involved in several Russian space experiments and earned his PhD in 1985 for the experiment onboard Space Station Salute-7. In 1993, he was one of the initiators of international antimatter space experiment Pamela. After moving to the US in 1994, he was involved in cosmic ray projects GLAST (since renamed Fermi) and BESS. When not working, he spends most of his free time traveling, hiking and mountaineering with his wife and often with two youngest daughters, with whom he lives in Potomac, Md.
“It was a big surprise and great encouragement,” Moiseev said. “I am very grateful to Jonathan Ormes, who suggested me to pursue the topic of high-energy electrons with the Fermi/GLAST in the mid-1990s.”
The awards were presented Sept. 8 at NASA Goddard.
For more information, visit: www.nasa.gov
- The scientific observation of celestial radiation that has reached the vicinity of Earth, and the interpretation of these observations to determine the characteristics of the extraterrestrial bodies and phenomena that have emitted the radiation.
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