School astronomers honoured by RAS awards

The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

Congratulations to the ROE astronomers who were honoured in the recent set of awards given out by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).

Dr Tom Kitching, a Fellow at the Institute for Astronomy, was given the award for postdoctoral researcher whose career has shown most promise. The United Kingdom Infrared Telescope Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS) - which includes the School's Prof. Andy Lawrence and Dr Nigel Hambly - was given the RAS Group Award. The citations are below.

Winton Capital Award for Astronomy: Dr Tom Kitching

Dr Tom Kitching has been given the 2012 Winton Capital Award, which recognises a postdoctoral researcher who completed their PhD no more than 5 years previously and whose career has shown the most promising development.

Dr Kitching, who now holds a RAS postdoctoral fellowship, contributes at all levels to research into weak gravitational lensing, from the details of shape measurement of galaxies, through development of sophisticated analysis tools, to leadership roles in ESA's forthcoming Euclid space mission that will map dark matter and investigate dark energy.

As a student, he helped develop the new field of 3D weak lensing and, with its inventor Prof. Lance Miller, is the co-creator of an algorithm that measures the distortion of galaxy images. As a result of his particular expertise he was invited to join the leading ground-based lensing survey (CFHTLenS) and the leading space-based survey (COSMOS, using the Hubble Space Telescope).

RAS Group Award: UKIDSS

The United Kingdom Infrared Telescope Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS) project has been awarded the RAS Group Award. The consortium behind the project began their work in 2005 and since that time has published more than 200 refereed papers. Significant science results from UKIDSS include the discovery of a quasar at a redshift of 7 (meaning that the light we detect from it left more than 13 billion years ago) and finding many examples of the new cool T-dwarf objects. Some of the latter are amongst the coolest astronomical objects known.