UCL News


Professor Culhane receives RAS Gold Medal

13 December 2006

Professor Len Culhane (UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory) has been awarded the Royal Astronomical Society's highest honour: the Gold Medal.

Professor Len Culhane

Each year, the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) presents a number of prestigious awards to members of the astronomy and geophysics communities for their outstanding contributions to science.

The Gold Medal for Astronomy was awarded to Professor Culhane for his work in X-ray astronomy, particularly in relation to the Sun.

His early work with the proportional counter spectrometer on the UK/US Ariel-I satellite involved the first direct demonstration that the Sun's X-ray spectrum 'hardened' during solar flares and was due to emission from high temperature (10 million degrees Celsius) gas.

In 1969, he was Principal Investigator (PI) for an advanced imaging detector on the OSO-8 satellite. He was subsequently involved in the Ariel V X-ray astronomy project and discovered emission lines, which showed that the extended X-ray sources in galaxy clusters were due to the presence of large volumes of hot gas.

Returning to solar work, he became PI for a series of X-ray and EUV spectrometers on NASA's Solar Max mission and Spacelab-2, and on Japan's Yohkoh mission.

He was Deputy Director of the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory for eight years and Director for 20 years. Professor Culhane is currently PI of Hinode's Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer.

Image: Professor Culhane