The Astronomical Society of the Pacific has honored Harland Epps, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, with the Maria and Eric Muhlmann Award for important research results based on development of groundbreaking instruments and techniques.
Epps is a pioneer of astronomical optics whose designs have touched almost every major telescope in the world. Modern astronomy is "photon hungry" and depends on efficient optics to collect as much light as possible over a wide field of view. Epps is an expert in designing innovative optics that allow deep imaging surveys and spectroscopy of very faint targets. His work is invisible to many who use his optics, but it has facilitated the modern explosive growth of data in astronomy.
Epps has designed optics for several decades and continues to be extremely active with instruments currently on the Keck Telescopes at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii; the Multiple Mirror Telescope (MMT) at the Whipple Observatory in Arizona; the Magellan Telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile; the Gemini Telescopes in Hawaii and Chile; and the Hobby-Eberly Telescope at the McDonald Observatory in Texas. He has more than 245 technical reports and published papers.
Epps earned his B.A. in astronomy at Pomona College and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in astronomy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He was a professor of astronomy at UCLA and a systemwide staff member with UC Observatories/Lick Observatory before joining the UCSC faculty in 1989.