SPIE Fellow Claire Max has been named Director of the University of California (UC) Observatories, a multi-campus research unit that serves eight campuses.
Max is a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, and has been interim director of the observatories since June 2014. She was appointed by UC President Janet Napolitano to a five-year term extending through 30 June 2020.
She previously worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and in 2001 joined the faculty at UC Santa Cruz, where she co-founded and led the Center for Adaptive Optics. Max is best known for her contributions to laser guide star adaptive optics, a technology that removes the blurring effects of turbulence in Earth's atmosphere, noted the University of Santa Cruz Newscenter press release regarding the appointment.
Adaptive optics has applications in vision science -- imaging the living human retina -- as well as in astronomy.
Max is a long-time partcipant and conference chair in the SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation conference.