HEPL, founded in 1947 as Stanford's first Independent Laboratory, provides facilities and administrative structure enabling faculty to do research that spans across the boundaries of a single department or school—for example: physics & engineering or physics & biology/medicine. The Independent Laboratory concept, in many ways unique to Stanford, facilitates world-class research and teaching.
For more information about HEPL research, see the Research page.
Emeritus Professor Francis Everitt,
Principal Investigator of Gravity Probe B,
accpting the 2016 AIAA Space Science
Award (Image credit: Diane Larson)
Every election year, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) hosts a Space and Astronautics Forum and Exposition. This year’s forum and exhibition was called AIAA Space 2016, and it was held at the Long Beach, CA Convention Center from September 13-15. The theme of Space 2016 was: Open Space: Opportunities for the Global Community.
The second day of the program included a Recognition Session featuring several talks and a recognition luncheon to celebrate achievements in space and astronautics.
During the Recognition Luncheon, seven awards were presented, including the Space Science Award given to the Gravity Probe B team “For performing with NASA support two revolutionary new tests of Einstein’s theory of gravity, general relativity, with cryogenic gyroscopes in Earth orbit.”
The award was accepted by Stanford Research Professor Emeritus, Francis Everitt, Principal Investigator of the Gravity Probe B mission, which was administered by HEPL for nearly half a century, from first NASA funding in 1963 through the spacecraft launch in April 2004, the final results announcement in 2011 and, most recently, the publication of the November 2015 focus issue of the journal, Classical and Quantum Gravity, containing a preface and 21 scientific and technical papers covering every aspect of this landmark experiment and space mission.
On September 1, 2016, professor Daniel Palanker became the new Director of HEPL. Dr. Palanker is working at the interface of physics and medicine. His group studies interactions of electric field with biological cells and tissues, and develops optical and electronic technologies for diagnostic, therapeutic, surgical and prosthetic applications, primarily in ophthalmology. These studies include laser-tissue interactions with applications to ocular therapy and surgery, as well as interferometric imaging of neural signals. Dr. Palanker is also developing various electro-neural interfaces, including retinal prosthesis for restoration of sight to the blind, and electronic control of secretory glands and blood vessels.
Dr. Palanker is going to lead a transition of HEPL into a hub for physics-centered interdisciplinary collaborations at Stanford, representing multi-faceted interfaces of Physics with Engineering, Neuroscience and Medicine.