Professors Joseph Miller and Thorne Lay Receive UCSC "Outstanding Faculty Awards"

June 20, 1997

Author: Robert Irion

Tim Stephens
UCSC Public Information Office

SANTA CRUZ, CA: Two internationally known researchers, seismologist Thorne Lay and astronomer Joseph Miller, have received “Outstanding Faculty Awards” for 1996-97 from their peers in the Division of Natural Sciences at UC Santa Cruz.

The award, first bestowed in 1993, honors excellence in three areas: research, teaching, and service to the campus, scientific organizations, and the public.

Lay, chairman of UCSC’s Earth Sciences Department, is noted for far-reaching research in three main areas: deep structure within the planet, especially at the boundary between Earth’s mantle and its core; the rupture process and slip distribution in large earthquakes; and seismic monitoring of nuclear tests. The American Geophysical Union recognized Lay as one of the country’s top young geophysicists by awarding him its prestigious Macelwane Medal in 1991.

Lay has chaired two panels convened by the National Research Council to examine scientific issues related to the global Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. He also is one of the principal architects of the National Science Foundation’s new program for Studies of the Earth’s Deep Interior.

Lay received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1983. He was at the University of Michigan before joining UCSC’s faculty in 1989 to direct the campus’s Institute of Tectonics. In 1992 he received a Favorite Professor Award from UCSC’s Student Alumni Council.

Miller is director of UC Observatories/Lick Observatory, which oversees Lick Observatory near San Jose and the UC share of the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. His most pioneering research concerns the nature of quasars and the centers of active galaxies. Miller also is known for his work in developing sophisticated observing tools for large telescopes, such as the secondary mirrors for the Keck I and Keck II Telescopes and a spectrograph for Keck II, now being built at UCSC.

Miller was assistant director of Lick Observatory for 10 years before becoming director in 1991. He has served on several national committees to advise observatories, including a term as chairman of the AURA Coordinating Council of Observatory Research Directors.

Miller earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1967 and came to UCSC that year. Many of his doctoral students have gone on to become leaders in their fields. In addition, Miller teaches one of UCSC’s most popular undergraduate courses, Overview of the Universe.

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