2016 George W. Goddard Award

Chakrabarti receives SPIE annual award.

01 July 2016

Supriya Chakrabarti, professor of physics at University of Massachusetts, Lowell (USA), is the 2016 recipient of the SPIE George W. Goddard Award.

SPIE presents the George W. Goddard Award annually in recognition of exceptional achievement in optical or photonic instrumentation for aerospace, atmospheric science, or astronomy. Chakrabarti is being honored for his work as an innovative scientist, visionary physicist, a scholar of extraordinary insight, and as an extraordinary role model.

During his graduate studies at University of California, Berkeley (USA), Chakrabarti built a sounding rocket payload for auroral studies and helped develop a spectrograph flown aboard the US Air Force STP78-1 satellite. Chakrabarti later joined the Space Sciences Laboratory at UC Berkeley and started a sounding rocket program in astrophysics that continues today.

In 1992, Chakrabarti joined Boston University (USA) where he served as director for the Center for Space Physics. His research team there developed and launched a small satellite for upper-atmospheric research and also developed new instruments and techniques for studying sunlit auroras, predicting ionospheric disturbances (space weather), and characterizing interplanetary hydrogen and interstellar dust.

Chakrabarti’s research group moved to UMass-Lowell in 2012 and now develops instrumentation for assessing carbon content in forests, solar-terrestrial interactions, and direct imaging of exoplanets. The group also conducts scientific studies of galaxies and upper atmospheres.

“Supriya Chakrabarti belongs to a small group of innovative scientists and engineers capable of proposing, leading, and implementing space experiments and space missions and at the same time designing and developing the enabling instrumentation to achieve experiment objectives,” said Mike Gruntman, professor of astronautics at University of Southern California (USA).

He also points out Chakrabarti’s achievements in the classroom, noting that he inspires his students. His engagement in suborbital programs has introduced many students and young professionals to “the exciting world of advanced engineering and science,” Gruntman said.

Chakrabarti  received the award in June at SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation in Edinburgh.


IMAGE FOR SPIE awardsFor nearly six decades, SPIE has presented annual awards to recognize significant achievements and contributions in advancing the science of light.

Look for other stories about award recipients for 2016 in this issue and the October edition of SPIE Professional.

Nominations for the 2017 SPIE awards were due 1 June and will be announced in January 2017 or earlier.

More information: spie.org/awards.

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