The Royal Astronomical Society has awarded Professor Matt Griffin, of Cardiff University and lead scientist of the SPIRE instrument on board Herschel, the Jackson-Gwilt Medal for his work on instrumentation for astronomy in the submillimetre waveband, the region of the electromagnetic spectrum between the far-infrared and microwave wavebands.
Matt Griffin is one of a select group of scientists that helped establish a UK lead in the technical development of instrumentation for submillimetre astronomy. He has been involved in most submillimetre instrument projects over the last three decades, including the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE) camera on Herschel. Matt led a diverse international team to bring this project to fruition, encompassing 18 institutions on three different continents.
SPIRE represents a step change in capability. With the ground-based SCUBA camera, 20 nights of observing led to the detection of 5 galaxies at submillimetre wavelengths. With SPIRE, 6000 galaxies can be detected in 8 hours.
Matt Griffin thus receives the Jackson-Gwilt Medal for in particular his outstandingly successful work on SPIRE, an instrument that is transforming submillimetre astronomy. Matt said “I’m delighted to receive this award, which I regard as a tribute to the success of Herschel and SPIRE, and to the
collective achievements of a large team of very talented people. I’m privileged to have been able to work with them, and very happy to see the fantastic scientific results that Herschel is producing.“
The Jackson-Gwilt Medal is available for award annually for the invention, improvement or development of astronomical instrumentation or techniques; for achievement in observational astronomy; or for achievement in research in the history of astronomy.