Jacqueline N. Hewitt
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"For her contribution to radio astronomy; in particular, her pioneering work in detection of gravitational lenses, including the discovery of the first Einstein ring, and their detailed investigation, using polarization, time-delay, and other measurements."Background:
After earning her AB in economics from Bryn Mawr College, Hewitt went on to receive her Ph D in physics from MIT in 1986 and spent the next two years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Very Long Baseline Interferometry group at MIT's Haystack Observatory. She has held her current position as assistant professor of physics since 1989.
Hewitt's primary research interests are the application of techniques of radio astronomy to basic research in astrophysics and cosmology, especially the study of gravitational lenses. She discovered a new class of gravitational lenses called "Einstein rings" which are useful as a method of measuring the masses of galaxies and thereby help to trace the quantity and distribution of dark matter in the universe. She also discovered one of only a handful of gravitational lenses known as "quads" which consist of four split images of a distant radio source. Most recently she has begun searching for planets around low-mass stars using phased very long baseline interferometry.