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Winners of 1999 Rossi Prize for High Energy Astrophysics Announced

January 11, 1999

Austin, Tex. --The High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society has named Dr. Jean Swank and Prof. Hale Bradt winners of the 1999 Bruno Rossi Prize for their key roles in the development of NASA's Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) spacecraft and subsequent discoveries concerning black holes, pulsars and other high-energy phenomenon.

Dr. Swank is the project scientist for RXTE at the Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics within NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Hale Bradt is Professor of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Rossi Prize recognizes significant contributions as well as recent and original work in High Energy Astrophysics. It is awarded annually in honor of Professor Bruno Rossi, an authority of cosmic rays whose experimental techniques at the Los Alamos Laboratory and at MIT gave birth to the field of X-ray astronomy. The prize also includes a $1,500 award.

"I see the award as being for the success of RXTE more than for me as an individual," said Dr. Swank. "The award is for all the people, including the Goddard engineers and managers, all the scientists on the instrument building teams and the operations teams, and the guest observers who have obtained good observations and good scientific results."

The RXTE observatory has made it possible to obtain measurements of cosmic X-ray sources at unprecedented high time resolutions, which has allowed astronomers around the world to observe fast moving, energetic and rapidly spinning objects, such as apparent supermassive black holes, active galactic nuclei and milli-second pulsars.

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