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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jacqueline Hewitt is Professor of Physics and Director of the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She received her undergraduate degree in Economics from Bryn Mawr College and her PhD in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She stayed at MIT for her postdoctoral research, and after one year as a research staff member in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University she returned to MIT in 1989 to join the faculty.

Professor Hewitt’s research interests are in the application of radio interferometry and signal processing to problems in astrophysics. She carried out an early gravitational lens survey with the Very Large Array, work that led to the discovery of the first Einstein ring gravitational lens. Her current research focuses on low-frequency radio studies of the “Cosmic Dawn,” the formation of the first stars and galaxies, and surveys of transient astronomical radio emission. She is a founding collaborator of the Murchison Widefield Array project, a pathfinder low-frequency radio telescope now in operation in Western Australia. The MWA has demonstrated technology and techniques for the new field of 21-centimeter cosmology, probing the Cosmic Dawn and the early universe’s global reionization by studying emission from neutral hydrogen gas in the early universe. Most recently, Professor Hewitt is engaged in the development of next generation instrumentation for 21-centimeter cosmology, in particular the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array. HERA is a new low-frequency radio array in South Africa designed to yield about a factor of ten increase in sensitivity and to enable precision calibration and analysis techniques.

Professor Hewitt chaired the National Academies’ midterm assessment of the Astro2010 Decadal Survey in Astronomy and Astrophysics, and she chaired the Particle Astrophysics and Gravitation Program Prioritization Panel of the Astro2010 Decadal Survey. In 1990, Professor Hewitt was awarded the David and Lucile Packard Foundation fellowship. For her work in the study of gravitational lenses she received the 1993 Henry G. Booker prize from the International Union of Radio Science and the 1995 Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award from the American Physical Society. In 2012, Time magazine named Hewitt one of the 25 most influential people in space. Hewitt is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

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