Even before she started kindergarten, Andrea Ghez was peering through a telescope. As she grew up, Ghez learned more about star science, and the telescopes got bigger.
These days Ghez is a UCLA professor of physics and astronomy, and uses the world's largest optical and infrared telescopes at the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea.
She is also the recipient of a 2008 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship - often dubbed a 'genius grant.'
"I am really thrilled," Ghez said. "I will be able to take more risks with my research than I could before. The current shortage of federal funding for science can lead scientists to take fewer risks, but my selection as a MacArthur Fellow will allow me to pursue new ideas and take risks."
More about Ghez and her work (UCLA Newsroom)
Astronomical discoveries (MacArthur Foundation)
Unveiling a Black Hole at the Center of the Milky Way (Video, Andrea Ghez Faculty Research Lecture)
UCLA's MacArthur Grant recipients (UCLA Faculty Honors and Awards)