Professor, The University of Arizona
Dr. Laird Close earned his Ph.D. in Adaptive Optics and astronomy in 1995 from the University of Arizona Astronomy Department where he is now a Professor. Professor Close has been highlighted as an outstanding professor and mentor by UA, and in 2004, he was honored with a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award. Professor Close is the principal scientist of the 6.5-meter diameter Magellan Adaptive Optics extrasolar planet imager (MagAO), located in the high Atacama Desert of Chile. MagAO has been the first system to make diffraction-limited images in the visible on a large telescope. MagAO’s VisAO camera has helped characterize exoplanets in the “visible” (0.6-1.0 microns) part of the electromagnetic spectrum for the first time.