The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is now providing an unprecedented view of the infrared universe, from the light of the first galaxies to the dusty glow of infant stars and nearby planetary systems. JWST is a case study in extreme optics: a huge 6.5 meter primary made of segments each controlled to within ten nanometers in position, operating at 40 Kelvin in deep space, all of which had to unfurl itself after launch under remote control with no margin for error.
Dr Marshall Perrin will describe the key optical technologies developed to enable JWST, including advances in ultralightweight mirrors, precise wavefront sensing and control, and super-stable large cryogenic structures.
After decades of development by a vast international partnership, a team of hundreds worked through the challenges of the COVID pandemic to launch JWST, align its mirrors, test its instruments, and begin its mission of discovery. Far more than just a source of gorgeous space images (though it is that too), the story of JWST is "big science" at its best, showing how international cooperation, teamwork, and lots of perseverance can combine to push forward the frontiers of our knowledge.
Dr Marshall Perrin, Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Dr. Marshall Perrin is an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, where he leads efforts using advanced space optical systems to image and study nearby planetary systems. He served as the Deputy Telescope Scientist for James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), and co-led the team that precisely aligned JWST’s mirrors in flight.
Dr. Perrin received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006, working there with adaptive optics systems on large ground based telescopes. As a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, he helped developed the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) instrument for the Gemini South international observatory in Chile.
He joined the JWST team at STScI in 2010. In addition to his efforts for JWST, Dr. Perrin co-founded STScI’s Russell B. Makidon Optical Laboratory and helps lead ongoing efforts there developing high contrast imaging technologies for future missions such as the planned Habitable Worlds Observatory. Dr. Perrin was awarded NASA’s Exceptional Public Achievement Medal in 2022 for his scientific leadership contributions to JWST.
The Dr Peter Domachuk Memorial Lecture was established in honour of Peter’s outstanding contribution and commitment to optofluidics and biophotonics research. This event is co-presented with the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science (IPOS) and the School of Physics.