OSA Rochester Speaker Series (video): Don Figer- Astrophysics Nobel Prizes and Instrumentation
In this talk, I will discuss the key technologies that led to this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics, namely: large telescope mirrors, adaptive optics, and infrared detectors. The Prize was awarded to theoretical work by Sir Roger Penrose, and observational work by Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez. The observational work uses high school physics first described by Newton and Kepler, but it took hundreds of years to do the experiment because the necessary instrumentation to conduct the experiment was only invented in the 1990’s. I will also describe my own recollections of the observational work, my participation in it, and subsequent research and development programs at RIT to enable future world-leading Astrophysics.