Prof. Andrzej Udalski from the University of Warsaw has received the Tycho Brahe Prize 2018 “in recognition of the role as driving force behind OGLE (Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment)”.
The Tycho Brahe Prize has been awarded by the European Astronomical Society since 2008. Each year, it is given to scientists in recognition of the development or exploitation of European instruments or major discoveries based largely on such instruments. In 2018, Prof. Andrzej Udalski from the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Warsaw received the award.
Professor Andrzej Udalski’s scientific career has been connected with the OGLE survey since the early 1990s. He put into practice the early idea by Bohdan Paczyński to regularly monitor millions of stars to search for sudden brightening caused by gravitational lensing by hypothetical dark massive objects in the halo of the Milky Way.
OGLE has produced top-ranked discoveries across many fields of modern astrophysics for almost three decades. Andrzej Udalski designed and constructed detectors for consecutive phases of the OGLE project. The current phase (OGLE-IV) uses a large new generation CCD mosaic camera with 32 detectors, one of the largest scientific instruments of this type worldwide. Prof. Udalski designed and assembled all aspects of this camera – the mechanical parts, electronics, software, and the interface with the Warsaw Telescope, located at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. He also implemented the data pipeline software and the efficient real-time data analysis systems, including the Early Warning System, very successfully used for the real-time detection of gravitational microlensing events since 1994. The application of such massive photometry went well beyond the detection of microlensing events, making OGLE one of the largest sky-variability surveys ever undertaken. A vast quantity of data on stellar variability was collected, analysed and made freely available to the astronomical community. The OGLE collection of well characterised periodic variables is the largest in modern astrophysics.
Prof. Andrzej Udalski is the author or co-author of close to 500 publications in peer-refereed journals (including about a dozen articles in “Nature” and “Science”), which totalise more than 20 000 citations so far.
Prof. Udalski has won several awards, including the prize of the Foundation for Polish Science in 2002, the highest for a Polish scientist, an ERC IDEAS Advanced Grant in 2009, and the Dan David Prize in 2017 in recognition to his role as a pioneer in the fieldoftime – domain astronomy. He is a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2004 and a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences since 2012.