I would like to congratulate Jim Gunn, who received the National Medal of Science from President Obama yesterday.
Jim was a professor of mine at Princeton (still is, in fact), and was one of the leaders of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. To my mind, he is, perhaps, the greatest living astronomer, and as we liked to point out in grad school, he’s probably the only person who could rightly be considered a world class observer, instrument builder, and theorist.
President Obama’s citation puts it best:
2008 National Medal of Science to Dr. James E. Gunn, Princeton
University, for his brilliant design of many of the most influential
telescopes and instruments in astronomy, and in particular for the
crucial role those technological marvels played in the creation of the
Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which has cataloged 200 million stars,
galaxies, and quasars; discovered the most distant known quasars; and
probed the epoch of formation of the first stars and galaxies.