Astronomer Martha Haynes awarded Jansky Lectureship

Martha Haynes, Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy, has been awarded the 2020 Karl G. Jansky Lectureship by Associated Universities, Inc. and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). The Jansky Lectureship recognizes outstanding contributions to the advancement of radio astronomy and is being awarded to Haynes “for her influential impact to our understanding of galaxies.” 

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.

The award announcement cites Haynes’ important contributions to our knowledge of the atomic hydrogen 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 atomic hydrogen observations of the galaxies in the Pisces-Perseus supercluster.

In showing that galaxies are clustered on scales of tens to almost 100 megaparsecs, considerably more extensive than previously demonstrated, Haynes’ work “completely altered our view of the scale of inhomogeneities in the universe, now recognized as a fundamental tenet of cosmology,” the award announcement states.

The award committee also cites Haynes’ leadership and advocacy 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.

Haynes’ many honors include election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 1999 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2000. 

First awarded in 1966, the Jansky Lectureship is named in honor of Karl Jansky, whose 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 (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.

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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