February 26, 2007
Astronomy graduate student wins Michelson Fellowship
By Tim Stephens
Katie Morzinski, a graduate student in astronomy and astrophysics, has
been awarded a 2007 Michelson Graduate Fellowship. This three-year fellowship
will support her work in UCSC's Laboratory for Adaptive Optics developing
technology for imaging extrasolar planets.
Morzinski's research focuses on the use in astronomy of tiny deformable
mirrors built using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology.
MEMS deformable mirrors are a promising technology for advanced adaptive
optics systems designed to sharpen the images obtained by telescopes.
Morzinski's work supports one of the goals of the Center for Adaptive
Optics (CfAO), which is to develop extreme adaptive optics systems for
high-contrast imaging of extrasolar planets.
Her academic advisers are Claire Max, professor of astronomy and astrophysics
and director of the CfAO; Bruce Macintosh, a visiting researcher at UCSC who
is also affiliated with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; and Don Gavel,
director of the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics.
The Michelson Fellowship includes a $30,000 annual stipend, plus
funding for education and research expenses. The Michelson Program,
administered by the Michelson Science Center at the California Institute
of Technology, seeks to further both the technical development and broad
scientific application of exoplanet-related technologies.