The 2020 Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation, awarded for the design, invention, or significant improvement of instrumentation leading to advances in astronomy, goes to Oswald “Ossy” Siegmund (University of California, Berkeley, Space Sciences Laboratory) for his significant and innovative contributions to the technology of photon counting detectors and the impact these instruments have had on advancing our understanding of the universe. His role in developing and continually improving microchannel plate (MCP) detectors has been transformative to a broad range of astrophysical studies. Sensors incorporating MCPs are used in particle detectors and in astronomical instruments spanning X-ray, ultraviolet, and visible wavelengths. Over several decades detector technology directly enabled by Siegmund has been incorporated into numerous NASA, European Space Agency, and Department of Energy projects and has led to fundamental astrophysical discoveries.
“Calling prize winners to let them know they’ve won an award is by far the best part of this AAS President gig,” says Megan Donahue (Michigan State University). “AAS prizes not only acknowledge the recipients, but also the people who surround and support them. It’s a win-win for the awardees, their institutions, their collaborators, and the AAS — which gets to celebrate the many kinds of excellent work being done in our field.”