Dr. Christian Marois awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

By / par Kathryn McLeod (NRC)
(Cassiopeia – Summer / été 2020)

Congratulations to Dr. Christian Marois, Senior Research Officer with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC)’s Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre (HAA), for recently being appointed a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow.

On April 8, 2020, 175 artists, scholars and scientists were named to the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, based on “achievement and exceptional promise,” according to the Foundation, and chosen through a rigorous peer-review process.

Throughout a 15-year career in the field of astronomy, Dr. Marois’ research has spanned strategies for observing exoplanets, algorithms for interpreting observed data, and ways of building and improving frontier instruments. He is known for constructing the first dedicated exoplanet imaging instrument (TRIDENT) as part of his PhD studies, and for inventing the angular differential imaging (ADI) technique, a method that allows up to two orders of magnitude improvement in our ability to see exoplanets. In 2008, he led the team that took the first image of another multi-planetary system, the HR 8799 four planet system, at the Gemini North and Keck observatories.

He has won many awards, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Newcomb-Cleveland prize, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Polanyi award, the Plaskett medal, the Quebec National Assembly medal of honour, and was named scientist of the year by Radio-Canada. He has been a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars since 2014.

The support from the Guggenheim Foundation will help Dr. Marois continue his work at a new facility; the NRC’s Extreme Wavefront control for Exoplanet and Adaptive optics Research Topics at HAA, or NEW EARTH laboratory. There, he will test a new polychromatic imaging system that is predicted to improve sensitivities by up to 100x, and open up exciting new science capabilities.

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