Astronomer Honored by The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas

In recognition of his discoveries regarding the formation of black holes and galaxies, astronomer Karl Gebhardt will receive the 2012 Edith and Peter O'Donnell Award in Science from The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST).

The O'Donnell Award honors outstanding young Texas researchers in medicine, engineering, science and technology innovation. TAMEST will present the awards during its ninth annual conference, "Energy for Life -- from Human Metabolism to Powering the Planet," Jan. 12-13 in Houston.

Gebhardt is the Herman and Joan Suit Professor of Astrophysics in the Department of Astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin. Most of his career has focused on understanding the role that black holes play in the formation of a galaxy. He has measured more black hole masses than anyone in the world and is actively targeting many more galaxies.

His recent work focuses on understanding dark energy as part of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX). Gebhardt and his colleagues have outlined a unique approach to study dark energy using the Hobby-Eberly Telescope at the McDonald Observatory, and they expect they will make the most accurate measurements of dark energy for many years into the future.

Gebhardt has won numerous awards, including a Hubble Fellowship from NASA, teaching excellence awards from The University of Texas at Austin and the McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors, and a National Science Foundation Career Award.

The Edith and Peter O'Donnell Awards were established to recognize and promote outstanding scientific achievements of the state's most promising researchers. The awards were named in honor of Edith and Peter O'Donnell for their steadfast support of TAMEST, and include a $25,000 honorarium, a citation and an inscribed statue.

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