2010 Astrophysics Laureate Raymond Wilson Passes

Raymond Wilson (1928-2018)

Dr. Raymond Wilson, one of three recipients of the 2010 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics, has passed away.

Left to right: Jerry Nelson, Raymond Wilson, and Roger Angel receiving the 2010 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics. (Credit: Kavli Prize)

Drs. Raymond Wilson,  Jerry Nelson, and Roger Angel shared the astrophysics prize "for their contributions to the development of giant telescopes." He  pioneered the closed-loop computer-controlled telescope, a method known as active optics. This process, first implemented by Wilson and his colleagues in the 3.5-m New Technology Telescope, is a prerequisite for telescopes based on thin, flexible, “meniscus” mirrors. The key concepts of active optics involve continuous wavefront sensing, active collimation, and real-time reshaping of the primary mirror surface by actuators in the backup structure, permitting the entire telescope to be significantly lighter. Thin-meniscus active optics technology is the basis of the four 8.2-m telescopes of the European Southern Observatory’s VLT, in operation on Paranal (Chile) since 1998, as well as the two Gemini 8.1-m telescopes and the Subaru 8.3-m telescope.their respective innovations in the field of telescope design that have allowed us glimpses of ever more distant and ancient objects and events in the remote corners of the universe. Read more.