Hatfield professor’s rising star

A SCIENTIST from Hatfield is to be honoured for his contribution to astronomy with a prestigious award.

Professor James Hough, director of astronomy research at the University of Hertfordshire, will receive the Herschel Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society at the 2010 National Astronomy Meeting in Glasgow in April.

The award is named after 18th century astronomer William Herschel.

Prof Hough is recognised as a world-leader in astronomical polarimetry (where scientists measure the orientation of oscillations in light and electromagnetic waves) as well as his work into interstellar gas and dust, the nuclei of active galaxies, young stars and extrasolar planets.

Prof Hough said: “It is a great honour for my research to be recognized by the Royal Astronomical Society in this way.

“It’s a particular honour to be awarded a medal associated with the name of William Herschel, one of the greatest observational astronomers of the 18th and early 19th century.

“He is also credited with the discovery of infrared radiation, and this type of radiation has been very important in my own research.”