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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, October 12, 2004

UH astronomer wins citation from NASA

Advertiser Staff

HILO, Hawai'i — Robert Joseph, astronomer and faculty chair of the University of Hawai'i's Institute for Astronomy, has been honored with the NASA Public Service Medal.

Joseph served as director of the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) for 11 years, making him the longest-serving director of this U.S. national observatory.

The citation, signed by NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, honors Joseph for "outstanding leadership while serving as director of the Infrared Telescope Facility, enabling extraordinary planetary science research and exceptional contributions to the NASA Solar System Exploration mission."

Joseph specializes in studies of the effects of collisions between galaxies.

During Joseph's tenure as telescope director, the IRTF was awarded more than $21 million in grants and contracts by NASA and the National Science Foundation for observatory operations, new instrumentation, enhancements of image quality, and modernization of the facility.

The telescope is the principal observatory in the United States dedicated to infrared studies of the solar system.

It was established by NASA in 1979 and has been managed and operated by the University of Hawai'i's Institute for Astronomy for the past 25 years. The observatory employs about 22 scientific, technical, and administrative staff, 17 of whom live on the Big Island.