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2020 Jansky Lectureship Awarded to Cornell University Professor Martha P. Haynes

Martha P. Haynes, Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy
Credit: College of Arts & Sciences, Cornell University

Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) have awarded the 2020 Karl G. Jansky Lectureship to Dr. Martha P. Haynes, Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University. The Jansky Lectureship is an honor established by the trustees of AUI to recognize outstanding contributions to the advancement of radio astronomy.

Professor Haynes is being honored for her influential impact to our understanding of galaxies. She has made important contributions to our knowledge of the atomic hydrogen (HI) content of galaxies, environmental effects on gas, and large-scale structure in the local universe. She was responsible for the first three-dimensional view of remarkable large-scale filamentary structures, based on HI observations of the galaxies in the Pisces-Perseus supercluster.

Her work showed that galaxies are clustered on scales of tens to almost 100 megaparsecs, considerably more extensive than previously demonstrated. This completely altered our view of the scale of inhomogeneities in the universe, now recognized as a fundamental tenet of cosmology.

Haynes has also been a leader and advocate for the development of instruments to expand our ability to probe the radio universe. She provided oversight and vision to the improvements made to the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico, culminating with the ALFALFA HI Survey, which covered one-sixth of the sky and detected an astonishing 31,000 galaxies. She currently is a leader of the collaboration building the CCAT-prime submillimeter telescope in Chile.

She has served as an advocate for radio astronomy at the highest national and international levels including vice chair of the 2010 Decadal Survey and vice president of the IAU (2006-2012). From 1981-1983 she was NRAO’s Assistant Director for Green Bank and from 1998-1999 she served as Interim President of AUI where she gave broad oversight to the operation of NRAO and led the early negotiations leading to the establishment of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

Haynes’s achievements have been recognized through her election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 1999, her election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2000, and through numerous highly-prestigious awards. Her professional activities have had a significant impact on astronomy policy and planning. In addition, she has been an inspiring teacher and mentor for her many students and a leader in bringing women into the field.

As Jansky Lecturer, Haynes will give (virtual) lectures at NRAO facilities in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Socorro, New Mexico. These lectures are open to the public.

First awarded in 1966, the Jansky Lectureship is named in honor of the man who, in 1932, first detected radio waves from a cosmic source. Karl Jansky’s discovery of radio waves from the central region of the Milky Way started the science of radio astronomy.

Other recipients of the Jansky award include seven Nobel laureates (Drs. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Edward Purcell, Charles Townes, Arno Penzias, Robert Wilson, William Fowler, and Joseph Taylor) as well as Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, discoverer of the first pulsar, and Vera Rubin, discoverer of dark matter in galaxies.

A complete list of past recipients is here.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.


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