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2012 Jansky Lecturer: Dr. Mark Reid

by Davis Murphy last modified Apr 12, 2016

reid.jpgThe 47th annual Jansky Lecture will be given by Dr. Mark J. Reid of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and is entitled “Measuring the Cosmos”. Dr. Reid is being honored for his pioneering work in Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) as applied to numerous key problems in astrophysics.

The first lecture will take place in Charlottesville on Friday, November 2, at 7:00 pm in Gilmer Hall – room 130 – at the University of Virginia. Green Bank will host Dr. Reid on Monday, November 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm in the Green Bank Science Center Auditorium. The final Lecture of the series will be held in Socorro onFriday, November 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm at the Workman Center on campus at New Mexico Tech.

Reid received his Ph.D. in Planetary Science and Astronomy from the California Institute of Technology in 1975, where he worked with D. Muhleman on the first VLBI imaging studies of OH maser emission in the envelopes of variable stars. He then moved to the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) as a Center Fellow. In the late 1970's he was on the scientific staff at the NRAO, and then returned to the CfA, where he is a Senior Astronomer in the Radio and Geoastronomy Division.

Reid has been a world leader in the development and application of VLBI. He is widely recognized as the father of ultra-high precision VLBI astrometry, and he has used these techniques to answer some of the most important questions in astrophysics.

Reid has done definitive imaging of the parsec-scale structure of the relativistic jet in the massive galaxy M87. He also developed VLBI of spectral lines from natural molecular maser sources found around newly formed stars into a high precision tool for the study of these interesting sources. Perhaps his greatest contribution has been in the field of Galactic Structure. Reid has made some of the most accurate measurements of the distance to the Galactic center. His accurate position and proper motion measurements of the radio source at the Galactic center firmly established the existence of a supermassive black hole at the very center of the Milky Way galaxy.

Most recently, Reid's studies of maser emission from star forming regions has led to a detailed understanding of our Galaxy's three-dimensional structure. This work has revised the Galactic rotation velocity, thereby re-defining the mass of the Milky Way. Reid has also played a key role in the first direct measurements of proper motions of Local Group galaxies -- a technique that has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the mass distribution within the Local Group and its Dark Matter content.

Reid has received numerous awards, including a Senior Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Society and the Beatrice Tinsley Prize for outstanding career contributions from the American Astronomical Society.

We are pleased to have a scientist of his stature for the 2012 Jansky Lectureship, and we look forward to his visit and presentation this fall.

Chris Carilli and Fred K.Y. Lo