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J. Roger P. Angel

Lightweight Mirrors for Astronomical Telescopes

U.S. Patent No. 4,606,960
Inducted in 2016
Born Feb. 7, 1941

Roger Angel designs and builds optics for astronomical research, and recently, also for more economical solar energy. He is best known for very large and lightweight primary mirrors for astronomical telescopes, honeycomb structures cast in one piece of glass and polished by a unique stressed-lap method. The mirrors, made at the University of Arizona where Angel is Regents' Professor of Astronomy and Optical Sciences, are used in many of the world's leading observatories.

Angel developed another way to improve telescopes by making their smaller secondary mirrors of very thin glass, allowing them to rapidly bend into different shapes to correct for constantly changing atmospheric blurring. In another technique developed by Angel, light from many distant galaxies is transmitted by optical fibers for simultaneous spectroscopic analysis.

Recently, Angel has been inventing optics for solar energy collection. One approach concentrates sunlight onto small multijunction PV cells with twice the conversion efficiency of conventional PV panels. He founded the company REhnu to commercialize this technology. Born in England, Angel earned B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Oxford University. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal Society, a MacArthur Fellow, and a 2010 Laureate of the Kavli Prize in Astrophysics.

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