MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Jane Platt
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEApril 12, 1999
NASA'S ORIGINS PROGRAM AWARDS FIRST FELLOWSHIP
A post-doctoral student who will combine and process light
from multiple telescopes to take super-sharp pictures of stars is
the first recipient of a fellowship from NASA's Origins Program.
Rafael Millan-Gabet will conduct research on the blossoming
technology of interferometry, which uses multiple telescopes, at
the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
He'll work at the Infrared Optical Telescope Array (IOTA) at
Mount Hopkins, AZ, and the Center for High Angular Resolution
Astronomy (CHARA) array at Mount Wilson, CA.
"I was one of those kids fascinated by TV space
documentaries," said Millan-Gabet, who was born in Cordoba, Spain
and spent much of his childhood in the Canary Islands. He did his
undergraduate studies in the Canary Islands and France, and
graduate studies at the University of Massachusetts' Boston and
Amherst campuses. Millan-Gabet is about to receive his Ph.D.
from the Amherst campus. "I like to think about astronomy in a
That interest blends well with the goals of Origins, which
includes several missions to study the formation of galaxies,
stars, planets and life. Interferometry will play a vital role in
the Origins quest. "Because interferometry is a young, cutting-
edge technology, it requires a lot of patience," Millan-Gabet
said. "But the rewards will be phenomenal."
The Michelson Fellowship Program is funded through Origins
and the Space Interferometry Mission at JPL. "Our goal is to
support the science community by developing expertise in
interferometry," said Dr. Rudolf Danner of JPL, who's developing
the fellowship program. The program is named for the "father of
interferometry," Albert Michelson, the first American to win a
Nobel Prize in Physics.
The fellowship, to be awarded annually, is offered for two
years with a possible one-year extension. It covers a stipend of
approximately $42,000, with fringe benefits and a $10,000
research budget per year. The program also offers undergraduate
JPL manages Origins for NASA's Office of Space Science,
Washington, DC. JPL is a division of the California Institute of
Technology, Pasadena, CA.