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Giovanni Fazio Wins the 2019 SPIE George W. Goddard Award in Space and Airborne Optics

The award recognizes exceptional achievement in optical or photonic technology or instrumentation for earth or planetary or astronomical science, reconnaissance, or surveillance from airborne or space platforms

15 August 2019

Giovanni Fazio Wins the 2019 SPIE George W. Goddard Award in Space and Airborne Optics
Giovanni Fazio (left) receiving his award from SPIE President-Elect John Greivenkamp.

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA and CARDIFF, UK - Yesterday evening, at the 2019 Awards Banquet at SPIE Optics + Photonics in San Diego, SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, honored Giovanni Fazio with the Society's George W. Goddard Award in Space and Airborne Optics. Fazio, a senior physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, is being recognized for his exceptional achievements in the area of infrared instruments.

"Dr. Giovanni Fazio is a giant in the field of infrared astronomical instrumentation," said Lisa Storrie-Lombardi, Spitzer and NuSTAR project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "As the principal investigator of the Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) on the Spitzer Space Telescope, his work made possible one of the most exciting scientific discoveries of 2017: seven Earth-sized planets orbiting the dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. This is one of NASA's highest-impact science results ever."

In the 1960s, Fazio pioneered the development of gamma-ray astronomy using balloon-borne telescopes; he also initiated construction of a 10-meter optical telescope at the Whipple Observatory in Arizona to search for ultra-high-energy gamma rays. Throughout his career, Fazio has led work on ground-based infrared instruments including infrared bolometers, infrared cameras using many kinds of detector arrays, and the solid-state photomultiplier. These instruments have been used for observations of everything from the solar corona to the distant universe.

"Dr. Fazio's work has had a profound impact on the entire field of infrared astrophysics and all of the scientific disciplines that now thrive on infrared data," said Storrie-Lombardi. "Besides being a brilliant instrument builder, he is a role model as a scientist and human being. Whenever I see Giovanni he is always interested in looking to the future, to new scientific questions, and what we can learn."


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