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Rick White

Rick White headshot

Richard L. White came to STScI in 1982. In the pre-launch years he served as the (only) High Speed Photometer instrument scientist. After the HST launch, he worked on algorithms for restoring the Hubble aberrated Hubble images. He also developed image compression algorithms, including the wavelet-based Hcompress algorithm used for the Digitized Sky Survey. He created the compression algorithms that are used within FITS files and also created the algorithm used onboard in the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). He was head of the Science Software Group that developed data analysis software, during which time he helped write the PyRAF data analysis software that played a large role in helping move astronomy to Python by allowing the easy use of IRAF tasks from within Python. He was a Department Head for the Engineering and Software Services division.

After a sabbatical as part of the ACS science team, he returned to STScI as the Archive Branch chief. Since 2004 he has worked in the STScI archive, where he was the Principal Investigator for MAST. He has helped create and lead both the Hubble Legacy Archive project and the Hubble Source Catalog project, which are his major ongoing focus.

Dr. White has worked in many areas of astrophysics including theory, observation, data analysis, and data science. His fields of research range from the closest star (Proxima Cen) to the then most distant known quasar at a redshift of 6.4. He has worked on supernova remnants, the interstellar medium, galaxy formation, and stellar winds. He has worked on observations from the radio to gamma rays and was one of the leaders in the FIRST survey, the first high-resolution radio survey of the sky.


PhD in Astrophysics, University of Wisconsin
BS in Engineering Physics, University of Tennessee


Research Topics: Supermassive Black Holes; High-Redshift Galaxies; AGN and Quasars; Supernovae and Remnants; Exoplanets; Radio Astronomy; Image Compression; Data Processing; Catalogs; Stellar Winds


Professional Websites:

Professional Website

FIRST Ssurvey

MAGPIS Galactic Radio Survey


ORCID ID: 0000-0002-9194-2807



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