OBE from HRH
Professor Katherine Blundell received an OBE from HRH The Duke of Cambridge for services to astronomy and the education of young people. This was in recognition of her designing and directing the Global Jet Watch project. This has involved setting up five observatories strategically distributed in longitude around Planet Earth, such that there is always one of these in darkness. The observatories are equipped with research-grade instrumentation and telescopes. These are used in University of Oxford astrophysics research programmes to study evolving microquasars and novae in our Galaxy, but they also bring educational opportunities to the schools which host four of the observatories (in Australia, Chile, India and South Africa).
Although this award has been made to Professor Blundell, it implicitly recognises the contribution of many other people and organisations who have helped make Global Jet Watch a reality. At the top of the list is Steve Lee of the Anglo-Australian Telescope who is the instrument scientist; he has not only worked with Katherine in building and maintaining the observatories, but has designed and built the spectrographs which split up the light from the telescopes to understand the motion of matter around black holes. Global Jet Watch would not have been possible without the generous contributions from many donors and supporters, the participation of the schools and the assistance provided by many individuals and organisations. Katherine would particularly like to acknowledge the support provided by the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford, St John’s College, Oxford, her research students in Oxford, and her family.