Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) have awarded the 2018 Karl G. Jansky Lectureship to Professor Roger D. Blandford of Stanford University. The Jansky Lectureship is an honor established by the trustees of AUI to recognize outstanding contributions to the advancement of radio astronomy.
Professor Blandford has made many theoretical contributions to radio astronomy. In particular, he, along with younger colleagues, developed the basic theory behind the formation and propagation of cosmic jets of plasma propelled at nearly the speed of light. He has received many prizes and awards and is arguably the outstanding theoretical astrophysicist in the U.S.
A native of England, Blandford earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D degrees at Cambridge University. He held postdoctoral positions at Cambridge, Princeton, and Berkeley before joining the faculty at Caltech, where he taught astronomy and physics for more than 25 years. In 2003, he moved to Stanford to become the first Director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophyics and Cosmology. His research interests cover many aspects of radio astronomy involving quasars, pulsars and supernova remnants, as well as cosmology, using gravitational lensing and the cosmic microwave background.
He has received many honors, including election as a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has received the Dannie Heineman Prize of the American Institute of Physics and the American Astronomical Society, the Crafoord Prize, and the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.
As Jansky Lecturer, Blandford will speak at NRAO facilities in Charlottesville, Virginia; Socorro, New Mexico; and at the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia. These lectures are open to the public.
The trustees of AUI established the Jansky Lectureship in 1966 to recognize outstanding contributions to the advancement of radio astronomy and to promote the appreciation of the science of radio astronomy through public lectures. It is named in honor of Karl G. Jansky, who discovered radio waves emanating from the central region of the Milky Way Galaxy in 1932, which ultimately launched 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 noted astronomers Jocelyn Bell-Burnell and Vera Rubin.
A full list of past recipients of the Jansky Lectureship award can be found here.
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.
Dave Finley, Public Information Officer