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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

NJIT Overseers To Award NJIT Physicist New Prize and Medal for Design, Development and Construction of New, Top Solar Observatory

The first NJIT Excellence in Research Prize and Medal will be awarded to Philip R. Goode, PhD, distinguished professor of physics by the NJIT Board of Overseers and NJIT President Robert A. Altenkirch on March 26, 2008. Goode is director of the Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research which has led a five-year project to build the world’s most capable solar telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO), Big Bear Lake, CA. First light has been slated for May, 2008.

“The purpose of the award is to elevate the image of research on campus and in the community,” said NJIT Board of Overseers Chairman Emil Herkert. “Many professors at NJIT do notable work and we thought it long overdue that the research of these unique individuals be celebrated on the campus and in the region.”  The NJIT Board of Overseers serves as the governing body for the NJIT Foundation and provides a key advisory link with a wide range of organizations in the business community.  

(ATTENTION MEDIA: Please join us March 26, 2008, at a media conference 2 p.m., Room 37, in Kupfrian Hall, with Goode and others. An award presentation and lecture in the Jim Wise Theatre, Kupfrian Hall, will follow.  For reservations and directions call Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436.)    

Goode http://www.njit.edu/news/experts/goode.php has been director of BBSO since NJIT assumed leadership of the facility in 1997. Big Bear was developed by California Institute of Technology beginning in 1969. 

BBSO’s new solar telescope will be a 1.6 meter clear aperture, off-axis telescope featuring the world’s largest solar aperture. The telescope will feed the high-order adaptive optics system, which in turn will feed the next generation of technologies for measuring magnetic fields and dynamic events using visible infrared light. The new instrument also features a parallel computer system for real-time image enhancement.

Goode, of Westfield, has studied for many years the oscillating waves of the sun’s atmosphere, known as helioseismology. Goode’s research has also focused on magnetic fields.  He is expert at combining BBSO ground-based data with satellite data to determine dynamic properties of the solar magnetic fields.  His other areas of interest include working to place a lower limit on solar irradiance and to probe the solar interior. Such studies impact scientists’ understanding and ability to predict space weather.  

In recent years, industry, government and scientists have begun placing increasing attention upon space weather to learn more about which solar magnetic storms can have deleterious effects on satellites, the terrestrial power grid and telecommunications. 

Since 1998, Goode has focused on climate studies in which the Earth’s large-scale reflectance has been measured using earthshine. He and BBSO researchers have spent time modeling their earthshine data for the Earth’s reflectivity using satellite cloud cover and found appreciable decadal variation of reflectance due to cloud changes. BBSO is building a global network of earthshine telescopes to measure the Earth’s global reflectance and spectrum.

Herkert, of Hanover Township, has been a longtime friend of the university. The now retired former chairman and chief executive officer of Hatch Mott MacDonald Infrastructure and Environment, Herkert has long championed the advancement of the university, serving in many volunteer roles. 

The NJIT Board of Overseers is a special resource for the university.  An overseer is a critical link between academe and the business community, providing information on corporate and state priorities and assisting NJIT in meeting research and funding goals. The corporate perspective of the overseers helps to clarify the university’s research focus and indeed, may introduce entirely new research directions for consideration. 

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.