16 - 21 June 2024
Yokohama, Japan
Plenary Event
Monday Plenary: JWST
18 July 2022 • 08:30 - 10:00 PDT | Room 517d 

René Doyon, Univ. de Montréal (Canada)


The James Webb Space Telescope: Some Key Moments in its History

Robert Smith, Univ. of Alberta (Canada)

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)—a joint enterprise of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency—is the most complex and in some ways the most powerful telescope ever built. It’s history--which includes a near-death experience at the hands of a U.S. congressional committee in 2011 when there was an effort to kill the project--raises a range of important issues, as well as lessons for the future of space astronomy. In this talk, Dr. Robert W. Smith will discuss several key moments in JWST’s history.

Biography: Robert W. Smith is a Professor of History at the University of Alberta. He has written extensively on the history of space astronomy, including his award-winning book, The Space Telescope: A Study of NASA, Science, Technology, and Politics. Smith was the winner of the American Astronomical Society’s Doggett Prize for Historical Astronomy in 2020 and has acted as the on-scene historian to the James Webb Space Telescope since 2002.

JWST: Early results and Instruments

JWST Project Scientist Jonathan Gardner presents an overview of JWST commissioning activities, highlighting observatory performance, to be followed by a more detailed discussion of the individual science instruments.

Jonathan Gardner, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)

NIRSpec: Nora Lützgendorf, European Space Agency, STScI (United States)

NIRCam: Julien Girard, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)

MIRI: Sarah Kendrew, European Space Agency (United States)

NIRISS: Swara Ravindranath , Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)