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Richard B. Hoover honored with Gold Medal of the Society

21 April 2009

Richard B. Hoover, Astrobiology Group Leader at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, National Space Science Technology Center, is the 2009 recipient of the Gold Medal of the Society. Hoover is honored in recognition of his work in X-ray and EUV optics, ranging from microscopes to telescopes. His famous full-disk images of the sun in the X-ray and EUV wavelengths are among his many innovative advances for that field. In addition, his interest in the origins of life has led to a long chairmanship of the cross-disciplinary Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology conference.

This award is also given in recognition of his extraordinary dedication and service to optics and to SPIE. An SPIE Fellow, Hoover is a past president of the Society, and has served on numerous SPIE committees. He holds 11 U. S. Patents and was 1992 NASA Inventor of the Year. He served on editorial boards of several scientific journals and the boards of directors of the American Association of Engineering Societies, and the Council of Scientific Society Presidents. He is author/editor of 33 Volumes and 250 papers on astrobiology, extremophiles, diatoms, solar physics, X-ray/EUV Optics and meteorites. He co-directed the NATO Advanced Study Institute on Astrobiology in Crete and his book "Perspectives in Astrobiology" appeared in June, 2005.

Hoover has collected meteorites and microbial extremophiles from Antarctica; novel bacteria from glaciers and permafrost of Antarctica, Patagonia, Siberia, Alaska and from haloalkaline lakes, geysers and volcanoes of California, Alaska, Crete, and Hawaii. He has authored four new species of bacteria: (Spirochaeta americana, Desulfonatronum thiodismutans, Tindallia californiensis) from Mono Lake; and Carnobacterium plesitocenium that survived for 32,000 years in a frozen Alaskan pond.

"His love of diatoms has driven his career into an area that normally you would not expect, constantly asking the question, where did life come from?" Judy Fennelly, Air Force Research Lab, and Chair of the SPIE Awards Committee writes "He has searched for the origins of life in the far reaches of the universe to the deep in the ice packs of the Antarctica, where recently he has discovered and revived a species of bacteria not seen in tens of millions of years."

The Gold Medal of the Society is the highest honor the Society bestows. Beginning in 1977, it has been awarded annually in recognition of outstanding engineering or scientific accomplishments in optics, electro-optics, or photographic technologies or applications. The recipient(s) shall have made an exceptional contribution to the advancement of relevant technology. An honorarium of $10,000 will be presented.

For more information on this year's recipient and past winners, visit http://spie.org/x3077.xml.

SPIE presents several yearly awards that recognize outstanding individual and team technical accomplishments and meritorious service to the Society. SPIE urges you to nominate a colleague for his or her outstanding achievements. Nominations may be made through October 1 of any given year and are considered active for three years from the submission date. Visit SPIE.org/x1164.xml for instructions and nomination forms.