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Research Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, The Johns Hopkins University President, Associated Universities, Inc. 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics
Over a span of 40 years, Giacconi has helped create the field of X-ray astronomy. In 1962, a team of researchers led by Riccardo Giacconi detected the first extrasolar X-ray source, and in 2002, Giacconi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics (with Raymond Davis, Jr. and Masatoshi Koshiba) “...for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, which have led to the discovery of cosmic X-ray sources.”
Giacconi received his Ph.D. from the University of Milan in 1954, and went on to postdoctoral work at Indiana and Princeton Universities. In the late 1960s, he joined a private venture to build space hardware and instruments for NASA and the Department of Defense. Giacconi became Associate Director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics High Energy Astrophysics Division in 1973. He later became Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), which operates the Hubble Space Telescope. In 1992, Giacconi was named Director General of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which runs a number of observing facilities in Chile. In 2001, the ESO completed construction of the Very Large Telescope (VLT), the most advanced and largest system of telescopes in the world. In 1999, Giacconi became President of Associated Universities, Inc., which operates the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
Progress in the Study of the X-Ray Background
as author at MIT World Series: Nobel Laureate Speakers,