Jane Luu was the featured speaker at Stellafane, VT on Aug. 3, 2011
|Born||July 1963 (age 56)|
|Alma mater||Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Known for||Discovery of the Kuiper belt|
|Awards||Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy (1991)|
Shaw Prize (2012)
Kavli Prize (2012)
|Fields||Astronomy, Astrophysics, Engineering|
|Institutions||Harvard University, Lincoln Laboratory at MIT.|
|Thesis||Physical Studies of Primitive Solar System Bodies (1992 )|
|Doctoral advisor||David Jewitt|
|10370 Hylonome [A]||February 27, 1995|
|15760 Albion [A]||August 20, 1992|
|(15809) 1994 JS [A]||May 11, 1994|
|(15836) 1995 DA2 [A]||February 24, 1995|
|(15874) 1996 TL66 [A][B][C]||October 9, 1996|
|(15875) 1996 TP66 [A][C]||October 11, 1996|
|(19308) 1996 TO66 [A][C]||October 12, 1996|
|(20161) 1996 TR66 [A][B][C]||October 8, 1996|
|(24952) 1997 QJ4 [A][C][D]||August 28, 1997|
|(24978) 1998 HJ151 [A][C][E]||April 28, 1998|
|(26375) 1999 DE9 [C]||February 20, 1999|
|(33001) 1997 CU29 [A][B][C]||February 6, 1997|
|(59358) 1999 CL158 [A][C]||February 11, 1999|
|(60608) 2000 EE173 [C][F]||March 3, 2000|
|66652 Borasisi [A][C]||September 8, 1999|
|79360 Sila–Nunam [A][B][C]||February 3, 1997|
|(79969) 1999 CP133 [A][C]||February 11, 1999|
|(79978) 1999 CC158 [A][C][G]||February 15, 1999|
|(79983) 1999 DF9 [A][C]||February 20, 1999|
|(91554) 1999 RZ215 [A][C]||September 8, 1999|
|(118228) 1996 TQ66 [A][B][C]||October 8, 1996|
|(129746) 1999 CE119 [A][C]||February 10, 1999|
|(134568) 1999 RH215 [A][C]||September 7, 1999|
|(137294) 1999 RE215 [A][C]||September 7, 1999|
|(137295) 1999 RB216 [A][C]||September 8, 1999|
|(148112) 1999 RA216 [A][C]||September 8, 1999|
|(181708) 1993 FW [A]||March 28, 1993|
|(181867) 1999 CV118 [A][C]||February 10, 1999|
|(181868) 1999 CG119 [A][C]||February 11, 1999|
|(181871) 1999 CO153 [A][C]||February 12, 1999|
|(181902) 1999 RD215 [A][C]||September 6, 1999|
|(385185) 1993 RO [A]||September 14, 1993|
|(385201) 1999 RN215 [A][C]||September 7, 1999|
|(415720) 1999 RU215 [A][C]||September 7, 1999|
|(469306) 1999 CD158 [A][C]||February 10, 1999|
|(503858) 1998 HQ151 [A][C][E]||April 28, 1998|
|(508770) 1995 WY2 [A]||18 November 1995|
|Legend to co-discoverers:|
Dr. Jane X. Luu (Vietnamese: Lưu Lệ Hằng; born July 1963) is a Vietnamese American astronomer and defense systems engineer. She was awarded the Kavli Prize (shared with David C. Jewitt and Michael Brown) for 2012 "for discovering and characterizing the Kuiper Belt and its largest members, work that led to a major advance in the understanding of the history of our planetary system".
Luu immigrated to the United States as a refugee in 1975, when the South Vietnamese government fell. She and her family lived in refugee camps and motels before they settled in Kentucky, where she had relatives. She graduated high school as valedictorian and then earned a scholarship to Stanford University, receiving her bachelor's degree in physics in 1984. Working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA after college inspired her to study astronomy.
As a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she looked at links between asteroids and comets for her main PhD project. She also worked with David C. Jewitt to discover the Kuiper Belt, an area previously believed to contain no objects. In 1992, after five years of observation, they found the first known Kuiper Belt object other than Pluto and its largest moon Charon, using the University of Hawaii's 2.2 meter telescope on Mauna Kea. This object is (15760) 1992 QB1, which she and Jewitt nicknamed "Smiley". The American Astronomical Society awarded Luu the Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy in 1991. In 1992, Luu received a Hubble Fellowship from the Space Telescope Science Institute and chose the University of California, Berkeley as a host institution. The Phocaea main-belt asteroid 5430 Luu is named in her honor. She received her PhD in 1992 at MIT.
After receiving her doctorate, Luu worked as an assistant professor at Harvard University, since 1994. Luu also served as a professor at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Following her time in Europe, Luu returned to the United States and works on instrumentation as a Senior Scientist at Lincoln Laboratory at MIT, focusing on defense-industry projects, specifically lidar systems.
In December 2004, Luu and Jewitt reported the discovery of crystalline water ice on Quaoar, which was at the time the largest known Kuiper Belt object. They also found indications of ammonia hydrate. Their report theorized that the ice likely formed underground, becoming exposed after a collision with another Kuiper Belt object sometime in the last few million years.
In 2012, she won (along with David C. Jewitt of the University of California at Los Angeles) the Shaw Prize "for their discovery and characterization of trans-Neptunian bodies, an archeological treasure dating back to the formation of the solar system and the long-sought source of short period comets"  and the Kavli Prize (shared with Jewitt and Michael E. Brown) "for discovering and characterizing the Kuiper Belt and its largest members, work that led to a major advance in the understanding of the history of our planetary system".
Luu enjoys traveling, and has worked for Save the Children in Nepal. She enjoys a variety of outdoor activities and plays the cello. She met her husband, Ronnie Hoogerwerf, who is also an astronomer, while working in the Netherlands in a tenured position at Leiden University. They have one child together.
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Categories: 1963 births | 20th-century American scientists | 20th-century astronomers | 21st-century American scientists | 21st-century astronomers | American astronomers | American women scientists | Discoverers of asteroids | Discoverers of trans-Neptunian objects | Discoveries by Jane Luu | Recipients of the Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy | American people of Vietnamese descent | Academics of Vietnamese descent | Harvard University faculty | Hubble Fellows | Leiden University faculty | Living people | Members of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters | People from Ho Chi Minh City | Planetary scientists | Scientists of Vietnamese descent | Women astronomers | Vietnamese scientists | Vietnamese astronomers | Vietnamese emigrants to the United States | MIT Lincoln Laboratory people | Kavli Prize laureates | Kavli Prize laureates in Astrophysics