May 19, 2000
Colloquium Speaker: Claude R. Canizares
Professor Claude R. Canizares received his B.A., A.M., and Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University. He came to MIT as a postdoctoral fellow in 1971 and joined the faculty in 1974 progressing to professor of physics in 1984. Currently, he is the Bruno Rossi Professor of Experimental Physics and Director of the Center for Space Research. Professor Canizares is a principal investigator on NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, leading the development of the High Resolution Transmission Grating Spectrometer for this major space observatory, and is Associate Director of the Chandra X-ray Observatory Center. He has also worked on several other space astronomy missions, including as co-investigator on the Einstein Observatory (HEAO-2). His main research interests are high resolution spectroscopy and plasma diagnostics of supernova remnants and clusters of galaxies, cooling flows in galaxies and clusters, X-ray studies of dark matter, X-ray properties of quasars and active galactic nuclei, and gravitational lenses. Professor Canizares is a member of the NASA Advisory Council, is chair of three Space Studies Board of the National Research Council, is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Associated Universities Inc. and the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and formerly chaired NASA's Space Science Advisory Committee. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Physical Society, a corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Professor Canizares has authored or co-authored more than 145 scientific papers.
The Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO), one of NASA's Great Observatories, was launched in July 1999 and is now in full scientific operation. It represents a major advance in capability for studying X-rays from objects throughout the universe, from the hot coronae of nearby stars, to supernova remnants, neutron stars, giant black holes in the centers of galaxies, hot gas in clusters of galaxies and the most distant quasars. The half arc second angular resolution of the CXO mirrors over the energy range 0.1-10 keV enables orders of magnitude improvements over previous missions for imaging and spectroscopy of these objects. The transmission grating spectrometers provide spectral resolving powers of 100-2000 with reasonable sensitivity. These capabilities allow Chandra to address a wide range of scientific problems. This talk will describe CXO and its instrumentation and then focus on some early results from observations of both galactic and extragalactic objects.