Garth Illingworth

Garth IllingsworthDistinguished Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, among the thinkers behind the telescope

Discoveries from the James Webb Telescope



In 1987, NASA luminary Illingworth began work on what would become the Webb Telescope.  When the instrument was launched on December 25, 2021, he was the last of the original architects still involved.  By that time the project had included thousands of scientists and engineers from 24 countries, had cost nearly $10 billion and had come close to cancellation.

Illingworth began his career exploring galaxies, looking for the earliest, those created during the first 1-2 billion years of the universe.  After moving to the United States and with the advent of powerful telescopes such as the Hubble, he began working on the most distant galaxies.

The Webb Telescope may well be the most exciting scientific achievement of our time.  Its mission is to help understand our origins.  It has already returned images that changed previous concepts about early and distant galaxies.  Illingworth has received numerous awards for his ground-breaking work.  He has been invited to speak at the Space Telescope Science Institute, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.  He is a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society.