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Astronomer Martha Haynes awarded Jansky Lectureship

Professor Martha Haynes at the 2016 Friends of Astronomy Symposium.

Martha Haynes, the 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,” according to NRAO.

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 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 3D view of 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 – a unit of measure for distances in intergalactic space, and 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 NRAO announcement said.

The award committee also cites Haynes’ leadership and advocacy for the development of instruments to expand astronomers’ 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 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 and 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, including Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and Robert Wilson, 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.

Linda B. Glaser is news and media relations manager for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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