Joss Bland-Hawthorn

Prof Joss Bland-Hawthorn
ARC Laureate Fellow; SIfA Director, University of SydneyA

Astrophotonics: the Future of Astronomical Instrumentation

Over the past 15 years, astrophotonics - the interface between photonics and astronomical/space instrumentation - has led to important advances in adaptive optics, laser communications, interferometry, vortex coronography, precision spectroscopy through fibre etalons, filtering through photonic lanterns and multi-core fibre gratings, and so on. There is an important role here for
nanophotonics if nano-patterning can be achieved over large surfaces (~100mm OD).

These advances will be exploited by a new generation of astronomical instruments, as we describe. The case for photonics becomes even more compelling in an era of extremely large telescopes (25-42m aperture) now under construction.

Joss Bland-Hawthorn is an ARC Laureate Fellow Professor of Physics and Director of the Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIFA). He was born in England before moving overseas in 1985. After receiving his PhD from the Royal Greenwich Observatory and the University of Sussex, he took a 3-year postdoc in astrophysics at the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii. In 1988-1993, he was a tenured professor at the Space Physics & Astronomy Department, Rice University, Texas. In 1993, he joined the Australian Astronomical Observatory, Sydney. In 2000, he was appointed Head of Instrument Science, a new division that was created to reflect the increasing need for complex novel solutions to astronomical instrumentation. 

In 2007, Joss was awarded the prestigious Federation Fellowship with a tenured professorship in the Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIFA), School of Physics, University of Sydney. In 2009, he co-founded the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science (IPOS). In 2010, he was Leverhulme Professor at Oxford and held a Visiting Senior Fellowship at Merton College, Oxford. In 2011, he was the Brittingham Scholar at the University of Wisconsin, USA. He has won numerous awards including the Jackson Gwilt medal from the Royal Astronomical Society (2012) and the W.H. Steel medal from the Australian Optical Society (2015). In 2012, he was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Optical Society of America. 

In 2014, Joss was awarded the prestigious Australian Laureate Fellowship. He serves on several boards including Section H (IAU) and the Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics (USA). He has delivered numerous lecture series (e.g. Saas Fee, Bologna, Wisconsin) and is a regular speaker on the conference circuit, in addition to delivering occasional addresses at schools, clubs and industry. He was the Canon Lecturer at Canon Inc, Shinegawa, Tokyo (2012), the Plenary Speaker at the Supreme Court Judges conference (2013), and the Allison Levick Lecturer (2014). He is a regular guest at the University of Oxford, the University of Bologna and the University of Marseille.