Dr. Miguel Roth receives Order of Bernardo O’Higgins

SANTIAGO – The Chilean Foreign Affairs Ministry has awarded the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins to Dr. Miguel Roth Fuchs, who represents the Pasadena-based Giant Magellan Telescope Organization in Chile.

On Friday, Dr. Roth was presented with the award by Ambassador Isauro Torres in capital Santiago for his contribution to the development of astronomy in Chile, and for inspiring appreciation and knowledge of astronomy among students and people of all ages.

The Order of Bernardo O’Higgins is the highest civilian honor awarded to non-Chilean citizens. This award was established in 1956 and is named after one of the founders of the Chilean Republic, general Bernardo O’Higgins. It recognizes achievements in the field of arts, sciences, education, industry, trade, humanitarian and social cooperation.

Dr. Roth earned his doctorate in Physics from the University of Chile. His interest in scientific instrumentation led him to astronomy. The focus of his work has been observational astronomy, primarily in the infrared and he has studied star formation in high and low mass objects, and the early evolution of stars and planetary nebula. In recent years, he took part in observational campaigns for the Carnegie Supernova Project.

Roth was director of Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile from 1990 up to 2014, when he retired and began work with the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) as Legal Representative in Chile. The observatory is a sister observatory of Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena.

Roth was director of the National Astronomical Observatory at San Pedro Mártir in Baja California, Mexico, before his tenure as director of Carnegie’s Las Campanas in Chile. When the 6.5-meter twin Magellan telescopes were planned, constructed, and began operations in 2001 and 2002, Roth, as a Carnegie scientist, oversaw the construction and operations, with Las Campanas Observatory hosting the site.

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The twin telescopes have been extremely important to advancing astronomy, and were used to find the most distant black hole yet, as well as the first spectrum of a neutron star-neutron star merger.

As GMTO’s Legal Representative in Chile, Roth structured an agreement between GMTO and Chile that provides for access to observing time on the GMT by astronomers in Chile. He has also worked with the government, industry, and the other international observatories to ensure that the clear skies of Chile remain dark at night, preserving one of Chile’s greatest natural treasures.