On May 24, 2023, Prof. René Doyon received a NASA Medal for Exceptional Public Service for his contributions to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) mission. Prof Doyon is the Principal Investigator of the Canadian NIRISS instrument aboard the revolutionary space observatory. He is also a member of the Centre for Research in Astrophysics of Quebec, Full Professor in the Department of Physics at the Université de Montréal and the Director of both the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) and the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic (OMM).
These prestigious NASA medals are awarded to USA government employees and NASA collaborators for notable leadership accomplishments that have significantly influenced NASA’s mission and are NASA’s highest forms of recognition. Many key members of the JWST team, including Prof. Doyon, received their certificate of recognition and medal in person at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, during an award ceremony.
Since the launch of the JWST in December 2021 and the start of its scientific operations in July 2022, Prof. Doyon has kept busy with the commissioning of the NIRISS instrument and the analysis of an onslaught of amazing exoplanetary data collected by the telescope through programs led by himself, his students, and his colleagues. His role in the project also recently lead to him being named “Scientist of the Year 2022” by Radio-Canada for the second time; he is the only person to ever be given this title twice.
Prof. Doyon’s many collaborators and colleagues across iREx, the OMM, the Centre for Research in Astrophysics of Quebec (CRAQ), and the Université de Montréal congratulate him for this well-deserved award!