The American Astronomical Society has awarded J. Roger Angel the 2006 Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation, the society announced today.

Angel is a Regents’ Professor at The University of Arizona and is on the faculty of the UA astronomy department and the Optical Sciences College. He is the director of the renowned Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory and the Center for Astronomical Adaptive Optics.

The Weber Award is given “to an individual, of any nationality, for the design, invention or significant improvement of instrumentation leading to advances in astronomy,” the AAS announcement said.

The society cited Angel “for his superlative work spanning two decades on the development of a new generation of large telescopes, his establishment of the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab and a host of extraordinary conceptual ideas that have been turned into practical engineering solutions for astronomy.”

The Weber Award consists of $2,500 and a certificate, plus travel expenses to attend a meeting of the AAS, where the award is presented at the meeting banquet. The award has been presented annually since 2002.

Angel has led a technological renaissance in telescope optics. The Mirror Lab has fashioned the optics for several telescopes, including two 8.4-meter mirrors for the Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham in Arizona. The Mirror Lab cast the first of seven 8.4-meter mirrors for the Giant Magellan Telescope last summer.

He also has pioneered ways to find and study Earth-like planets around other stars. Life, if it has drastically altered atmospheric composition as on our own Earth, will be detectable in spectra obtained with a new generation of space telescopes. He is now exploring designs for a giant telescope on the Antarctic Plateau and for a manned base on the moon’s south pole.

Angel is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a MacArthur Fellow and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Angel received his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in physics from Oxford, England, in 1963 and in 1967. He earned a master’s degree from Caltech in 1966. He taught physics and worked in X-ray astronomy for six years at Columbia University before joining The University of Arizona in 1974.

The American Astronomical Society, established in 1899, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. The organization promotes the advancement of astronomy and closely related branches of science. The society’s approximately 6,500 members include physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers and others whose research interests lie within contemporary astronomy. The society holds two national meetings each year.

Contact Information

Robert P. Kirshner, AAS president

John A. Graham, AAS secretary

Steve Maran, AAS press officer
202-328-2010 x 16

J. Roger Angel