As the new NASA images captured by James Webb Space Telescope continue to stun the world, astrophysicist Jane Rigby, Webb’s operations project scientist, shared her first reaction after seeing the first focussed images from the telescope. “Earlier than this, the first focussed images that we took where they were razor-sharp…that for me had the very emotional reaction like oh my goodness, it works. And it works better than we thought…personally, I went and had an ugly cry. What the engineers have done to build this thing is amazing,” the scientist said.
Dr Jane Rigby, an astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Flight Center and the Operations Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, has been recognized by “Out To Innovate” as the 2022 LGBTQ+ Scientist of the Year for her outstanding contributions to her field through design, research, and management.
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Rigby earned degrees in both Physics and Astronomy and Astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University and her Ph.D. in astronomy from Arizona. She develops new techniques to study galaxy evolution, star-forming galaxies, and active galactic nuclei.
Some more images sent by JWST:
“When I was a student, all through college, I wasn’t aware of any LGBTQ role models,” Rigby said in a recent interview with NASA. “I hope I’m part of the last generation who grow up without queer role models. I hope this award brings hope to queer folks pursuing careers in STEM, and I hope it reminds organizations that inclusion matters every single day. I also see this award as a recognition of how transformative Webb will be for astronomy — I’m so proud of helping that telescope become a reality.”