James Bock, a principal scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and a professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology (USA), is the 2014 recipient of the SPIE George W. Goddard Award in recognition of his development of sensitive bolometer arrays for studies of distant, dusty galaxies and cosmic microwave background radiation.
The instruments have been used on the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE) on the Herschel Space Telescope, on the High Frequency Instrument (HFI) on the Planck Surveyor spacecraft, and a radiotelescope at the South Pole.
Measurements from the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization 2 (BICEP2) at the South Pole led to NASA’s announcement in March that it had detected the earliest signals from the Big Bang, telltale patterns of gravitational waves in the primordial microwave radiation.
“Although the field of astronomical instrumentation development is full of brilliant minds, I can think of no one more deserving of this award than Professor Bock,” said Jason Glenn of the Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy at University of Colorado at Boulder (USA).
“He has led the development of a generation of detectors for submillimeter and millimeter astronomy that have led to fundamental cosmological measurements, with numerous spinoffs into other areas of astrophysics.”
Bock developed and refined the “spider-web bolometer,” a sensitive detector used in the millimeter-wave through far-infrared wavelength bands.
“The precise measurements of the structure of the cosmic microwave background, which Jamie’s spider-web bolometers have made possible, have been instrumental in ushering in a new era” of cosmology, said Michael Werner of JPL.
More SPIE annual awards for 2014
Information about the recipients of other SPIE awards, including the 2014 SPIE Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award, the SPIE Biophotonics Technology Innovator Award, and the Frits Zernike Award are published in SPIE Professional.
Read more about SPIE annual awards.
Nominate a colleague for SPIE awards
SPIE presents several annual awards that recognize individual and team technical accomplishments in optics and photonics and service to the Society.
Nominations may be made through 1 October and remain active for three years from the submission date, except for the SPIE Early Career Achievement Award and the Goodman Book Writing Award.
Nominations must be accompanied by:
- Nomination form
- Citation stating the accomplishments of nominee
- Description of the significant aspects of nominee's career
- Curriculum vitae listing educational background, positions held, publications, awards, honors, activities, and offices held within SPIE
- At least two letters of reference, not from the nominator
SPIE awards banquet 20 August
SPIE President H. Philip Stahl will present the 2014 Society awards Wednesday, 20 August, at the annual awards banquet in San Diego, CA (USA).
Tickets to the 7:30 pm event cost $90 and can be purchased with registration or on site at SPIE Optics + Photonics.