Title: Distinguished Professor
Company: University of California Los Angeles
Location: Simi Valley, California, United States
Professor Ian S. McLean, Distinguished Professor at University of California Los Angeles, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in physics and astronomy.
Dr. McLean became involved in his profession because when he was eight years old, the Sputnik was launched. It marked the start of the space age and like many young kids, he was inspired to learn about science and space. He knew he was good at science, so in order for him to do astronomy, he needed a degree in physics and astronomy. The University of Glasgow had a joint program of Astronomy and Physics, which was rare at the time. There he encountered with the man who would be his PhD adviser, David Clarke. Dr. McLean really attributes his path to him since he convinced him to invent new instrumentation or new pieces of equipment. He went to the University of Glasgow in Scotland, where he earned a Bachelor of Science with honors in 1971 and a Doctor of Philosophy in 1974. He then became a research fellow in the department of astronomy at the University until 1978.
The highlight of Dr. McLean’s career was his innovations. Each time he has worked on some project, the purpose is to build something and get it to the telescope. One of his first creations was the infrared camera, which was a digital camera in the infrared and was able to discover cool things in space. Another highlight was the NIRSPEC did the Brown Dwarf Spectroscopic Survey (BDSS). Its purpose was designed to study near-infrared moderate-to-high resolution spectra for a large sample of low-mass stars and sub-stellar mass objects in the M and newly defined L and T dwarf classes. The BDSS was initiated following the successful first light commissioning of the Keck-II Near-Infrared Spectrometer (NIRSPEC) in April 1999. He also admires his teaching days and putting in the effort and dedication towards his students. In 2009, he joined the University of California Los Angeles, where he remains to this day, holding the positions of vice-chair of Astronomy, vice-chair of Academic Affairs, professor of physics and astronomy, director of Infrared Laboratory for Astrophysics and Distinguished Professor. As a testament to his success, Dr. McLean has received the Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation from the American Astronomical Society in 2017 among others. He is also listed in numerous editions of Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in the West, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering and Who’s Who in America.
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