UC Berkeley News



01 November 2006

Berkeley Medal awarded to astronomer Joseph Miller

Astronomer Joseph Miller, whose leadership as director of the UC Observatories/Lick Observatory is credited with paving the way for much of the astronomy research conducted at Berkeley, was awarded the Berkeley Medal, the campus's top honor, and a presidential citation at a ceremony on Friday, Oct. 20.

Miller, who headed UCO/Lick for 14 years, resigned recently to return to full-time teaching and research at UC Santa Cruz, where he is a professor of astronomy and astrophysics. During his tenure at the observatories, Miller oversaw the design and construction of powerful new telescopes and associated instruments that led to some of the past quarter-century's most important breakthroughs in science - including the finding that the expansion of the universe is accelerating (led by Berkeley professors Saul Perlmutter and Alex Filippenko) and the discovery of the first extrasolar planetary systems (by Berkeley's Geoff Marcy).

Miller became director of UCO/Lick in 1991, when the Keck Observatory, in Hawaii, was still under construction and Lick Observatory, on California's Mt. Hamilton, was UC's only telescope research facility. The 10-meter Keck I Telescope was operational by 1993, followed, in 1996, by the twin Keck II. They remain the world's largest optical and infrared telescopes and have enabled the research of UC astronomers to flourish at an unprecedented level.

UCO/Lick has been at the forefront of development in adaptive optics, a revolutionary technology for removing the blurring effects of the atmosphere from astronomical images. The world's first laser guide star for routine adaptive optics observations was implemented on the three-meter Shane telescope at Lick.

In 1999, Miller and UCO/Lick astronomers led the successful effort to establish the Center for Adaptive Optics, a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center headquartered at UC Santa Cruz. Three years later, a $9 million grant from the Moore Foundation enabled UCO/Lick to establish the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics at UCSC. Miller's tenure also saw the development of three major instruments for the Keck telescopes: the High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer, the Echelle Spectrometer and Imager, and the Deep Extragalactic Imaging Multi-Object Spectrograph.

Over the past four years, Miller has pioneered the development of the next generation of extremely large telescopes, notably the Thirty-Meter Telescope, currently in the design phase.

The Berkeley Medal, established in 1981, is bestowed "at most three or four times a year on individuals of exceptionally distinguished achievements whose work or contributions to society illustrate the ideals of the university and contribute to its goals, and whose careers have manifestly benefited the public well beyond the demands of tradition, rank, or direct service to the university."

Scott Shenker to receive Internet award

Scott Shenker, a professor in the department of electrical engineering and computer science, has been named the recipient of the Nokia Corporation's 2006 IEEE Internet Award for his contributions in resource sharing on the Internet, which include innovations in congestion control and quality-of-service, as well as theoretical formulations using game theory.

Shenker's first work on resource sharing showed that fair queuing routers would increase the stability and robustness of the Internet. Along with his later work on congestion control, this led to a deeper understanding of network-traffic dynamics. Shenker also helped define extensions of the Internet architecture to support real-time services and was among the first to use game theory to analyze resource sharing on the Internet.

The IEEE Internet Award recognizes exceptional contributions to the advancement of Internet technology for network architecture, mobility, and/or end-use applications. Shenker will formally receive the award Nov. 13 in Santa Barbara.