At its 219th semiannual meeting last week in Austin, Texas, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) named the recipients of its 2012 prizes for achievements in research, instrument development, education, and writing. The 2012 Joseph Weber Award for instrumentation went to Thijs de Graauw, until 2008 principal investigator for HIFI and now director of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).
De Graauw received the award for his leadership in the construction of powerful new astronomical instruments including HIFI (on ESA’s Herschel Telescope) and the Short Wavelength Spectrometer on the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO).
De Graauw laid the foundation of the development of heterodyne technology for astronomical observations in (sub)millimeter wave lengths. Prior to that he developed the technology for use in the infrared.