University of Rochester

Astronomy Professor Honored with Anthony Achievement Award

February 5, 2002

Judith Pipher, professor of astronomy at the University of Rochester, has been named the recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award was established in 1997 by the Anthony Center for Women's Leadership at the University. It is presented annually to a University of Rochester alumna, trustee, faculty member, or administrator who has demonstrated strong leadership qualities, personal as well as professional success, and has served as a role model for other women.

Pipher will receive the award at the Center's annual Susan B. Anthony Legacy Dinner on Thursday, Feb. 7. A member of the faculty since 1971, she is known internationally for her work developing infrared detector array technology and for her numerous publications on star formation and starburst galaxies.

In collaboration with fellow professors William Forrest and Dan Watson, Pipher has developed ultra-sensitive detector arrays that are being used in NASA's Space Infrared Telescope Facility. The satellite, scheduled for launch in December of this year, will orbit the sun and will be able to pick up infrared radiation normally obscured by cosmic dust. This will allow scientists to discover more objects such as protostars, protogalaxies, and brown dwarfs-failed stars- that will help them explain how stars and galaxies formed and evolved.

Pipher and her colleagues are also working to develop even larger sensor arrays for the NASA Next-Generation Space Telescope. She has published more than 150 journal articles on star formation, the structure and evolution of dusty galaxies, and the nuclei of galaxies. She has served and presently serves in leadership roles in numerous organizations, including the American Astronomical Society, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy Science Council, on NASA and National Science Foundation committees, and on several scientific boards, including the National Research Council's Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Space Studies Board, the Gemini Board, and the Aura Board.

At the University of Rochester, where she teaches in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Pipher has played a pivotal role in the creation and revision of undergraduate astronomy courses. Numerous students have asked her to be their advisor for their doctoral or undergraduate senior theses, and she was the recipient of the department's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2001.