Maria and Eric Muhlmann Award
For important research results based upon development of groundbreaking instruments and techniques
The Maria and Eric Muhlmann Award is given annually for recent significant observational results made possible by innovative advances in astronomical instrumentation, software, or observational infrastructure.
The 2018 recipient of the Muhlmann Award is Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University.
The Maria and Eric Muhlmann Award is given for recent significant observational results made possible by innovative advances in astronomical instrumentation, software, or observational infrastructure. The 2018 recipient of the Muhlmann Award is Pieter van Dokkum for the development of a novel means to measure very diffuse and faint structures in the sky.
Dr. van Dokkum is responsible for the "Dragonfly" array, a novel telescope consisting of "normal" telephoto camera lenses that are clustered and instrumented together. There are now 48 lenses in two clusters that can reach a limit of 32 magnitudes per square arc second in a 10-hour exposure over a large field of view. This very inexpensive (by comparison) telescope can outperform the world's largest telescopes in finding very diffuse galaxies and circumgalactic material. This led to the discovery of so-called "ultra-diffuse galaxies,” which have sizes comparable to the Milky Way but fewer than 1% of the stars. The suggestion is that these are almost entirely made of dark matter. Then by contrast, last year the Dragonfly claimed to have found a dwarf galaxy that is almost entirely devoid of dark matter. This is still somewhat controversial, but undoubtedly the Dragonfly array is making waves. Dr. van Dokkum is at Yale University, where he has a long history of publishing work on galaxies, including over 300 refereed publications with over 34,000 citations and an h-index of 108.
Please contact the Awards team if you have questions about the nomination process.