PR Contact: Suraiya Farukhi
Universities Space Research Association
Columbia, Maryland, February 6, 2017 - Universities Space Research Association (USRA) announced today that Eric Becklin (USRA/Caltech) was the recipient of the American Astronomical Society's 2017 Henry Norris Russell Lectureship award. This award was granted "for lifetime preeminence in astronomical research for his leadership role over the last half century in turning infrared astronomy into a fundamental tool for understanding the universe."
Becklin has pioneered discoveries using infrared observations in a wide range of contexts -- including the galactic center, star-forming regions, evolved stars, brown dwarfs, exoplanets, and the obscured nuclei of other galaxies -- with telescopes on the ground, in the stratosphere, and in space.
Dr. Nicholas White, Senior Vice President, Science, at USRA said, "We are extremely delighted to see this prestigious recognition and honor bestowed on Eric. His leadership and advocacy for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has been critical to its success."
Included among Becklin's other awards are the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize in Astronomy. He was also selected as a Guggenheim Fellow, and is currently a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
His expertise includes infrared astrophysics, photometry, imaging at infrared wavelengths, and instrumentation for astronomy. He has served in various positions, most notable among them being Acting Director, NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, Senior Scientist, Institute of Astronomy; Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Hawaii; Visiting Fellow, Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, Scotland; Professor of Physics and Astronomy, UCLA; and Chief Scientist, USRA/SOFIA project.
A prolific writer, Becklin has authored several papers, including many involving his work on SOFIA, managed by the Universities Space Research Association for NASA.
Founded in 1969, under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, Universities Space Research Association is an independent, nonprofit research corporation which offers an avenue for government and industry to engage the expertise of the academic community together with USRA's own technical leadership, innovative R&D, operational excellence, management of premier facilities and education programs to advance space- and aeronautics-related sciences and exploration. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations to develop and deliver sophisticated, forward-looking solutions to Federal agencies and other government sponsors.
Eric Becklin holding a model of SOFIA.