Dr. Gaspar Bakos of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is the 2011 winner of the Maria and Eric Muhlmann Award of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. The Muhlmann Award is given annually to recognize recent significant observational results made possible by innovative advances in astronomical instrumentation and techniques.
Over the past few years Dr. Bakos and his team have developed one of the world's most successful systems for detecting transiting extra-solar planets, namely the HATNet suite of automated small wide-field telescopes, spaced in longitude, which routinely monitors 10-degree fields to discover photometric dimmings indicative of transiting exoplanets.
Before coming to the CfA, Dr. Bakos obtained his MSc in 2000 at the Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE) in Budapest. He joined the Solar, Stellar, and Planetary (SSP) Division of the CfA in January 2001 as a Predoctoral Fellow. After receiving his PhD from ELTE in 2004, he was a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow until 2007 and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow until 2010. Currently he is an SAO scientist within the SSP division. In the fall, Dr Bakos will be an assistant professor in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University.
Dr. Bakos is the Principal Investigator for the Hungarian-made Automated Telescope Network (HATNet), six small (11cm diameter), wide-field, fully-automated telescopes designed to detect and characterize extrasolar planets and to find and to study bright variable stars. The network is maintained by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics with primary stations at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Submillimeter Array site atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Dr. Bakos is also the PI for the related HAT-South network of telescopes installed to Chile, Australia and Namibia, the first truly global network of identical telescopes allowing for round-the-clock monitoring of the sky.