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Cosmic Geographer Receives Chapter Award

Posted on Friday, August 19, 2016

Dr. R. Brent Tully, ARCS Foundation Honolulu Chapter’s 2016 Scientist of the Year, is considered a father of modern observational cosmology for doing “cosmology up close” at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s Institute for Astronomy. The annual award recognizes the university’s researchers whose advancement of STEM knowledge and mentorship of new scientists mirror ARCS Foundation mission of advancing science in America.

Since establishing the "Tully-Fisher relation" in 1977, Tully has used the powerful technique to study the expansion rate of the universe and the distribution of dark matter. His 1987 Nearby Galaxies Atlas, 2009 Extragalactic Distance Database, and 2013 Cosmicflows-2, provided the first 3-D depiction of the galaxies, augmented by distance and velocity data.

In a 2014 Nature article, Tully described our home supercluster, which he named Laniakea, Hawaiian for immense heaven. It covers 500 million light years and has a mass 100 quadrillion times that of the Sun. He received three major honors in 2014: the Gruber Foundation Cosmology Prize, the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam’s Wempe Award, and Armenia’s Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize. He has also served as science adviser to the Nova series Runaway Universe and PBS documentary What’s Up in the Universe and as program consultant for the American Museum of Natural History.