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John Hutchings – Principal Research Officer Emeritus

John Hutchings

Credit: Canadian Space Agency

  • Quote: Never give up chasing your goal.
  • Studies: B.Sc., M.Sc. (Rand) Ph.D. (Cambridge) in the s. I grew up in South Africa, studied physics and astronomy there, and then did my Ph.D. at Cambridge University. In I moved to Victoria, B.C., to work as a postdoc at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, where I later joined the staff, and I have been there ever since. Now retired, I continue to work as Emeritus.
  • Job title: Principal Research Officer Emeritus
  • Employer: Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics NRC, Victoria, B.C.

What is your connection to the James Webb Space Telescope?

What part of the Webb mission are you most excited about?
The capability of Webb far exceeds what can be done by existing telescopes. This is what we call "discovery space" – the ability to find things not anticipated or currently known – and it's the part of the Webb mission I'm most excited about. This has been the case for other missions up to now – they have all led to new discoveries that were not foreseen at the time of building.

What is the best part of your job?
It's extremely exciting and challenging, working with smart people all over the world. The explosion of knowledge about the universe, and how we got to inhabit it, have been the drivers of my work in science and new instrumentation for all my career.

How did you choose your career path?
My interest in astronomy dates back to childhood. After studying physics I was able to begin research at what was then the largest telescope in the southern hemisphere. Once in a research job, things kept going with new opportunities, computers, and technologies.

What advice would you give young people interested in going into space science?
Work hard, grab opportunities, follow your dream.

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