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Blair Savage

Blair D. Savage

Dr. Blair D. Savage is the Karl G. Jansky Professor of Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Savage received the B.S. degree in Engineering Physics from Cornell University in 1964, the M.A. and Ph.D. in Astronomy from Princeton University in 1966 and 1967. After completing his Ph.D. he was involved in the two successful imaging flights of the Stratoscope-II 36 inch diffraction limited balloon born telescope in 1968 and 1970. The Stratoscope-II project, pioneered by Martin Schwarzschild and Robert Danielson of Princeton University, first demonstrated that high resolution imagery (0.2 arc sec) and stabilization (0.01 arc sec) were possible from a remotely controlled night time optical observatory suspended from a balloon at 80,000 feet altitude. The success of Stratoscope-II played a significant role in the eventual decision to construct the more ambitious Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in 1977.

Savage joined the astronomy faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1968 and served as Chair from 1982 -1985. Savage uses the technique of spectroscopy to study the composition and physical nature of the clouds of gas and dust that exist between stars and between galaxies. A major focus of his research in recent years has been on the corona of hot gas surrounding the Milky Way and the hot gaseous medium found between the galaxies.

Savage has been involved as a member of the science teams for many of the ultraviolet spectroscopic observatories launched into space by NASA including the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory-2 (1968 -1972), the International Ultraviolet Explorer (1978-1996), and the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph (1990-1997) on the HST. He is currently working with UV spectra obtained by the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph and is on the science team of the Far-Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) satellite which was launched in June 1999. He is a member of the science team for the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph which will be placed aboard the HST in 2003.

In addition to his space research projects, Savage played a substantial role in overseeing the creation of the high technology WIYN 3.5-meter optical observatory now operating on Kitt Peak in Arizona. The WIYN Observatory is operated by a consortium consisting of the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, Yale University, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatories.

Throughout his career Savage has served on many astronomy advisory committees for NASA and for National Research Council. He currently is a member of the Space Telescope Science Institute Council and of the Committee for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the National Research Council.