Astronomy professor receives Bruce Medal for career’s work

By: Linda B. Glaser,  Cornell Chronicle
Sun, 07/21/2019

Martha P. Haynes, the Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy, has been awarded the 2019 Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

The medal is presented annually to a professional astronomer in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding achievement and contributions to astrophysics research. Previous Cornell recipients of the Bruce Medal include Edwin Salpeter (1987), Hans Bethe (2001) and Martin Harwit (2007).

“Martha’s storied career in understanding the structure of the universe has been recognized yet again,” said Jonathan Lunine, the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences and chair of astronomy. “Her research career is an outstanding example of Cornell‘s big impact on the field of astronomy.”

The award announcement cites Haynes’ contributions to the understanding of the composition, interactions, distribution and evolution of galaxies in the universe. Also from the announcement: “[She is] an internationally recognized leader and pioneer in radio studies of galaxies. [Haynes has] completely altered our view of the scale of inhomogeneities in the universe, which is now recognized as a fundamental tenet of cosmology.”

Haynes also has been a leader and advocate for the development of instruments to expand our ability to probe the radio universe. She provided oversight and vision to the improvements made to the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico, culminating with the ALFALFA HI Survey, which covered one-sixth of the sky and detected an astonishing 31,000 galaxies. Haynes and her students and colleagues have also studied large clumps and clusters of galaxies at immense scales of up to hundreds of megaparsecs.

Haynes serves as chair of the board of directors of the Cornell-led Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope (CCAT) initiative to build the high-altitude, CCAT-prime submillimeter radio telescope in northern Chile that will peer into the early universe to investigate galaxy and star formation. She is also the scientific lead of the ALFALFA Undergraduate Team, which promotes collaborative research by faculty and students at 23 academic institutions, most serving mainly undergraduates, from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Haynes has authored more than 272 refereed publications that have received more than 16,000 citations, including 41 refereed publications with more than 100 citations each.

Among Haynes’ other honors are the Henry Draper Medal from the National Academy of Sciences, and her elections to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. She also is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has been appointed as a distinguished lecturer at a number of institutions, including Princeton University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.