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C 54 announces winners of two new prizes in Interferometry, the Fizeau Prize and the Michelson Prize

21 July 2010

The International Astronomical Union Commission 54, Optical and Infrared Interferometry, is pleased to announce the first award of two new prizes in astronomy.

The IAU Commission 54 (Optical and Infrared Interferometry), The Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur (OCA), and the Mt. Wilson Institute (MWI) created two prizes in Interferometry, the Fizeau Prize and the Michelson Prize. The two prizes are similar but complementary, with the Michelson Prize emphasizing application of interferometry to astrophysical research, and the Fizeau Prize emphasizing innovative technical and theoretical work.

The Fizeau Prize for 2010 is awarded for lifetime achievement to Professor Antoine Labeyrie for his invention of speckle interferometry, the development of the I2T and GI2T interferometers, and contributions to the development and implementation of the VLTI. Prof. Labeyrie's innovative genius challenges conventional wisdom with ideas such as the hypertelescope, laser-trapped space mirrors, and pupil densification; his visionary work has meant much to the community, and has been a forceful reminder that our scientific ambitions are limited only by our imaginations.

The Michelson Prize for 2010 is awarded for lifetime achievement to Dr Michael Shao for his pioneering work on ground-based and space-based interferometers, including the Mark I, Mark II, Mark III, Palomar Testbed Interferometer, Keck Interferometer, and Space Interferometry Mission. Dr. Shao has been a prominent leader in the interferometry community, developing new avenues of research, including narrow-angle astrometry and nulling.

The formal public announcement was made June 30, 2010, in San Diego, at a special evening session of the SPIE conference on "Optical and Infrared Interferometry II." The Michelson Prize is sponsored by the Mount Wilson Institute, and the Fizeau Prize is sponsored by the  Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, in a joint program with Commission 54. Each awardee will receive a certificate of award and an honorarium.

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