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The AXAF Science Center (ASC) at the CfA has announced the selection of five scientists to inaugurate the AXAF Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Competition for the fellowships was open to all recent astronomy and astrophysics graduates worldwide. The AXAF Fellows will work for three years at a host astronomical institution in the United States where they will investigate topics broadly related to the scientific mission of the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility, or AXAF.

Additional AXAF Fellows will be selected each year over the course of the program. The AXAF Fellowship Program is a joint venture between NASA and the ASC in cooperation with the host institutions. The ASC is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and funded by NASA through the Marshall Space Flight Center.

"We are elated at the outstanding group of Fellows," said Harvey Tananbaum, ASC Director. "They will be working during the exciting period when the first X-ray images will be received from AXAF."

Nancy Remage Evans, AXAF Fellowship Program Coordinator, added, "The program will encourage AXAF-related work at institutions throughout the United States."

An independent panel of scientists selected the honorees. The first AXAF Fellows and the host institutions at which they will hold their fellowships are: David Buote (University of California, Santa Cruz), Tiziana Di Matteo (CfA), Ann Esin (California Institute of Technology), Joseph Mohr (University of Chicago), and Edward Moran (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).


Hoping for something sexier than an alphabetical acronym, NASA has asked the public to come up with a new name for the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF). A nationwide contest, run by the AXAF Science Center (ASC) at SAO, is soliciting suggestions through the end of June.

AXAF is now scheduled for launch December 3 on the Space Shuttle Columbia. Once in orbit, the observatory will be controlled and operated completely by SAO from the AXAF Operations Control Center (OCC) at 1 Hampshire Street.

Under its present name, AXAF is in the final stages of assembly and testing at TRW in Redondo Beach, California, where a team of of SAO scientists and technicians spent nearly a month this spring monitoring the final thermal tests.

Although employees of SAO, TRW, and NASA are disqualified, their friends and family members can enter by choosing a person (not living), place, or thing from history, mythology, or fiction. Then, in a few well-crafted sentences, describe why this choice would be a good name for AXAF. The name must not have been used on a prior NASA mission.

Complete contest rules, electronic entry forms, and additional information can be found online at this website. Or, submit a name for the mission, along with the reason for picking this name, directly to: AXAF Contest, Office of Education and Public Outreach, AXAF Science Center, 60 Garden Street; MS 83, Cambridge, MA 02138. Mailed entries must be postmarked no later than June 30, 1998.

The Grand Prize, offered by TRW, Inc., AXAF's prime contractor, is a trip to see the launch of the satellite at NASA's Kennedy Space Flight Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Ten Runner-Up prizes will be awarded, and all entrants will receive an AXAF poster.


The retirement of Ursula Marvin was officially marked by an informal reception and laudatory remarks by directors she had served, including Fred Whipple, George Field, and Irwin Shapiro. The most laudatory--and gracious--comments, however, came from Ursula herself, who gave generous praise to a host of administrative staff who provided support and sustenance throughout her long career at SAO. Incidentally, she will not be leaving SAO, her office, or her research, which will probably continue at no less intensity than in the past. As she put it: "This is more a reduction in pay than a retirement."

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Four SAO scientists are featured in the Cambridge University Press' Spring 1998 catalog of new and recent books in astronomy and astrophysics. The SAO scribes and titles of their books are Lee Hartmann, "Accretion Processes in Star Formation;" Leon Golub, co-author of "The Solar Corona;" Dap Hartmann, co-author of "Atlas of Galactic Neutral Hydrogen;" and, Fred Seward, co-author of "Exploring the X-ray Universe."

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Bob Kirshner and Jim Moran were the only astronomers among 60 U.S. scientists and 15 foreign associates elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in April. Election to the Academy recognizes "distinguished and continuing achievements in original research" and is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a scientist or engineer. With the election of Kirshner and Moran, there are now an even dozen NAS members associated with the CfA. Alphabetically, the others are: Al Cameron, George Field, Margaret Geller, John Huchra, Bill Press, Irwin Shapiro, Pat Thaddeus, Fred Whipple, Bob Wilson, and John Wood.

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Minor planet (7690) has been named in honor of Raymond and Beverly Sackler, generous supporters of science and the arts. The honor was announced on February 19, when a poster-sized track of the asteroid's orbit and citation was presented to the Sacklers by Irwin Shapiro at a reception following this year's Sackler Distinguished Lecture in Astronomy. The series was established in 1993 by a gift from the Sacklers to bring outstanding speakers to the Harvard College Observatory. The annual lecture has also become something of a "family event" for the Sacklers; and, this year, they were joined by their sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren.

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Irwin Shapiro was elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society, America's oldest scientific academy. He is the fourth member of the CfA elected to membership. Others include Jim Baker, Owen Gingerich, and Fred Whipple.

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CfA Postdoctoral Fellowships were accepted by two of the top five applicants this year. The successful candidates are: Kevin Luhman of the University of Arizona, who will join the Optical and Infrared Astronomy Division in mid-August; and Aaron Barth of the University of California, Berkeley, who plans to arrive in early October, also to work in OIR.

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On February 14, at the "early timers" celebration of the MMT's final days, J.T. Williams, veteran SAO field operations specialist and technical troubleshooter extraordinaire, was cited by the directors of the MMTO, SAO, and Steward Observatory for his "contributions to every aspect of development, construction, and operation of the Multiple Mirror Telescope, from the beginning of site work on Mt. Hopkins to the present..."

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After a long search, Laura Conway of the Human Resources Department was selected as its new manager. During the search process, able stewardship of the department had been provided by the joint acting management of Eva Cardarelli and Michelle Barnes. Both have since left SAO, Eva to pursue other career goals; and, Michelle to join her husband, former SAO radio astronomer Peter Barnes, in Socorro, NM, where he will be at the VLA.

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Luis C. Ho, a CfA postdoctoral fellow, now working in the Radio and Geoastronomy Division on studies of the low-energy properties of galactic nuclei, has been awarded the Robert J. Trumpler Award by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. This award is given to a recent Ph.D. recipient whose research has been determined to have significant importance to astronomy.

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Van McGlasson, manager of the CfA's Computation Facility, has been named the 1998 recpient of the Smithsonian Institution's Brooks Award for Excellence in Administration. The award is named for the late Robert A. (Rab) Brooks, former Under Secretary of the Institution.

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