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Riccardo Giacconi

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Title: Riccardo Giacconi  
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Subject: List of Nobel laureates by university affiliation, Wolf Prize in Physics, List of Johns Hopkins University people, Timeline of white dwarfs, neutron stars, and supernovae, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes
Collection: 1931 Births, American Astronomers, American Nobel Laureates, Italian Emigrants to the United States, Italian Nobel Laureates, Johns Hopkins University Faculty, Living People, Members of the United States National Academy of Sciences, National Medal of Science Laureates, Nobel Laureates in Physics, People from Genoa, Recipients of the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Smithsonian Institution Archives Related, Winners of the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, Wolf Prize in Physics Laureates
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Riccardo Giacconi

Riccardo Giacconi
National Medal of Science award ceremony, 2003
Born (1931-10-06) October 6, 1931
Genoa, Italy
Residence United States
Nationality Italy
United States
Fields Physics
Institutions Johns Hopkins University
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Alma mater University of Milan
Doctoral advisor  
Doctoral students  
Known for Astrophysics
Notable awards Elliott Cresson Medal (1980)
Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics (1981)
Nobel Prize in Physics (2002)

Riccardo Giacconi (born October 6, 1931) is an American Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist who laid the foundations of X-ray astronomy. He is currently a professor at the Johns Hopkins University.


Born in Genoa, Italy, Giacconi received his Laurea from the University of Milan before moving to the US to pursue a career in astrophysics research.

Since cosmic X-ray radiation is absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere, space-based telescopes are needed for X-ray astronomy. Applying himself to this problem, Giacconi worked on the instrumentation for X-ray astronomy; from rocket-borne detectors in the late 1950s and early 1960s, to Uhuru, the first orbiting X-ray astronomy satellite, in the 1970s. Giacconi's pioneering research continued in 1978 with the Einstein Observatory, the first fully imaging X-ray telescope put into space, and later with the Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched in 1999 and is still in operation. Giacconi also applied his expertise to other fields of astronomy, becoming the first director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, the science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope.

Giacconi was awarded a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2002 "for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, which have led to the discovery of cosmic X-ray sources".[1] The other shares of the Prize in that year were awarded to Masatoshi Koshiba and Raymond Davis, Jr..

Giacconi has held the positions of professor of physics and astronomy (1982–1997) and research professor (since 1998) at Johns Hopkins University, and is now University Professor. During that time he also held the position of Director General of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) (1993–1999). He is currently principal investigator for the Chandra Deep Field-South project with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Honors and awards


  1. ^ Nobel prize citation
  2. ^ Bruce Medal page
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