I recently heard of a book called The Jasons at the blog of a former colleague, Peter Woit. Since I spent the summer of 2004 doing classified math research for the government, I was very interested to hear of another such group. In a way, the Jasons are a sequel to the very successful Manhattan Project, and there is lots of overlap of personnel. The Jasons came into being in the aftermath of the Soviet launch of Sputnik, in 1960 to be exact.
After buying the book on a recent visit to the Chautauqua Institution, I was fascinated to read that in their very early years, they invented an idea that today is revolutionizing astronomy: adaptive optics. By coincidence, this technique was just starting to move its way to the front of my mind, because I try to keep up with astronomy news, due to my lifelong interest in the subject. I’m thrilled to happen upon it in the quite different context of the Jasons.