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Dahm, Tonry Receive 2004 ARCS Awards

Scott Dahm

The Hawaii chapter of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) has selected IfA graduate student Scott Dahm as the winner of both the 2004 Helen Jones Farrar ARCS Scholarship in astronomy and the ARCS Scholar of the Year. In addition, IfA astronomer John Tonry was named ARCS Scientist of the Year.

Dahm grew up in Baton Rouge, and obtained his B.S. in mathematics from Louisiana State University in 1991. He then spent four years as an officer in the U.S. Navy before returning to academia. After obtaining an M.S. degree in astronomy from San Diego State University, he transferred to the University of Hawaii for his Ph.D. research.

Dahm is trying to understand how stars like the Sun form out of clouds of interstellar gas. He uses the telescopes on Mauna Kea to study the vast “nurseries” of young stars hundreds of light-years away. He then analyzes how the newborn stars separate themselves from their parent cloud and how they surround themselves with the beginnings of planetary systems. His meticulous work has already resulted in half-a-dozen published papers, despite being unexpectedly called back for a year’s duty with the Navy in the months following 9/11.

John Tonry

Tonry received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1980, and arrived at the IfA in 1996 after achieving the rank of full professor at MIT. His research on distant supernovae led to the discovery that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating—one of the most important astronomical findings in recent decades. He has created a new technique for measuring distances to galaxies, and with collaborators at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories, he has invented a new type of CCD detector that sharpens images by shifting charge in all four directions. A prototype of this CCD has been installed on the UH 2.2-meter telescope.

See the ARCS Web site: http://www.arcsfoundation.org/