Carnegie's Stephen Shectman to receive Muhlmann Award

August 28, 2015

Pasadena, CA-- Astronomer and instrumentation expert Stephen Shectman of the Carnegie Observatories has been selected to receive the Maria and Eric Muhlmann Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, "for important research results based upon development of groundbreaking instruments and techniques." He will receive the prize in October.

Shectman investigates the large-scale structure of the distribution of galaxies. He searches for ancient stars; develops novel and creative astronomical instruments; and constructs large telescopes. He was the project scientist for the 6.5-meter Magellan telescopes and is largely responsible for their superb quality. Shectman served as the project scientist for the Giant Magellan Telescope until 2012.

Working with fellow Carnegie astronomer George Preston, Shectman conducted an objective-prism survey for the oldest and most "metal-poor" stars in the halo of the Milky Way galaxy, and helped to provide the foundation for the study of what is now called near-field cosmology. For two decades most of the known extremely metal-poor stars (with heavy-element content less than 1/1000 of the solar value) were discovered in Shectman and Preston's survey.

Shectman led the Las Campanas Redshift Survey (LCRS), the first galaxy redshift survey to use fiber-optic spectroscopy to measure the distances to hundreds of galaxies in each exposure. The greater the redshift of an object, the more distant it is. The LCRS was the first extensive redshift survey deep enough to convincingly show that the galaxy distribution becomes homogeneous on sufficiently large scales.

Over the decades, Shectman has developed a variety of specialized instruments for larger and larger optical telescopes at Carnegie's Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. He created a series of photon-counting detectors for faint-object spectroscopy, which was copied by other observatories. He built the high-resolution echelle spectrograph and the multiobject fiber spectrograph for Carnegie's 2.5-meter (100-inch) du Pont telescope. With former Carnegie postdoc Rebecca Bernstein, now project scientist for the Giant Magellan Telescope, he built the high-resolution echelle spectrograph for the 6.5-meter (21.3-feet) Magellan telescopes, and he worked on the Magellan echellette spectrograph and the Magellan Planet Finder Spectrograph.

"Steve Shectman's genius and leadership are largely responsible for the world-class quality of the telescopes at Carnegie's Las Campanas Observatory," remarked Observatories director John Mulchaey. "He is very deserving of this award."

Carnegie president Matthew Scott remarked, "Steve's creativity in instrument conception and engineering, and his accomplishments using them, epitomize Andrew Carnegie's vision to support 'exceptional' people."

Shectman received a B.S. in physics from Yale University in 1969 and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology in 1973. He has been a staff member at the Carnegie Observatories since 1975. He was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in 1984 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1997. In 2005 he received the Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation from the American Astronomical Society. In 2008 he received the Jackson-Gwilt Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society for his work on telescopes and instrumentation and he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2014.
-end-
Carnegie Science is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with six research departments throughout the U.S. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.

For more about the award see https://www.astrosociety.org/society-news/the-astronomical-society-of-the-pacific-announces-its-2015-award-recipients-for-astronomy-research-and-education/

Carnegie Institution for Science

Related Telescopes Articles from Brightsurf:

Maunakea telescopes confirm first brown dwarf discovered by radio observations
A collaboration between the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR) radio telescope in Europe, the Gemini North telescope, and the NASA InfraRed Telescope Facility (IRTF), both on Maunakea in Hawai'i, has led to the first direct discovery of a cold brown dwarf from its radio wavelength emission.

ESO telescopes record last moments of star devoured by a black hole
Using telescopes from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and other organisations around the world, astronomers have spotted a rare blast of light from a star being ripped apart by a supermassive black hole.

USTC researchers design continuous-scanning sky brightness monitor in 2.5- to 5-μm band
Researches from USTC proposed a continuous-scanning near-infrared sky brightness monitor (CNISBM).

Telescopes and spacecraft join forces to probe deep into Jupiter's atmosphere
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the ground-based Gemini Observatory in Hawaii have teamed up with the Juno spacecraft to probe the mightiest storms in the solar system, taking place more than 500 million miles away on the giant planet Jupiter.

Paired with super telescopes, model Earths guide hunt for life
Cornell University astronomers have created five models representing key points from our planet's evolution, like chemical snapshots through Earth's own geologic epochs.

Astrophysicists wear 3D glasses to watch quasars
A team of researchers has shown a way to determine the origins and nature of quasar light by its polarization.

A new lens for life-searching space telescopes
University of Arizona researchers have designed a new kind of telescope that is a cheaper, lighter and more powerful option than creating telescopes using ever-larger mirrors.

Telescopes in space for even sharper images of black holes
Astronomers have just managed to take the first image of a black hole, and now the next challenge facing them is how to take even sharper images, so that Einstein's Theory of General Relativity can be tested.

Blue supergiant stars open doors to concert in space
Blue supergiants are rock-and-roll: they live fast and die young.

Binary neutron star merger produced a compact jet of material detectible From Earth
Using a global network of radio telescopes, researchers have found that the binary neutron star merger event GW170817 produced a jet of material expanding at close to the speed of light, a new study reports.

Read More: Telescopes News and Telescopes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.