Eric Becklin

Eric E. Becklin is an American astrophysicist, best known for his pioneering study of infra-red sources at the center of our galaxy.

Becklin received his Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology. A faculty member since 1989, Becklin is a Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy at UCLA. Named SOFIA Chief Scientist in 1996, he was the first director of the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) at Mauna Kea, Hawaii and a principal investigator on the Kuiper Airborne Observatory (KAO). Becklin is internationally recognized for his expertise and research in infrared astronomy.

Becklin's primary focus is in the area of infrared imaging and spectroscopy. The current major efforts are the search for brown dwarfs (objects, which do not have sufficient mass to sustain hydrogen nuclear burning, are the missing link between stars and planets), the detection of dust rings around stars that are related to planet formation, the dynamics and composition of the center of our Galaxy, and the nature of luminous infrared galaxies. The research uses UCLA instrumentation developed in collaboration with Ian McLean, as well as facility instrumentation at the University of California's Lick and Keck (10 meter) observatories.

Becklin is Chief Scientist and Director Designate of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), which is a 2.7m infrared telescope installed in a modified Boeing 747-SP.

Becklin is widely known for his discovery with Gerry Neugebauer in 1966 of an exceptionally bright infrared source within Orion known today as the Becklin-Neugebauer Object

Educational background

* B.S., Physics, University of Minnesota, 1963

* Ph.D., Physics, California Institute of Technology, 1968


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