Adam Bolton, NOIRLab
November 1, 2021
DESI collaborator Dr. Frank Valdes, a scientist at NSF’s NOIRLab, has been honored with the 2021 ADASS Prize for an Outstanding Contribution to Astronomical Software. The award recognizes Frank and two other colleagues for their foundational roles in creating the Image Reduction and Analysis Facility (IRAF) software system. IRAF was launched over three decades ago as a pioneering project to create general-purpose software tools that would allow astronomers to translate the images taken by telescopes into calibrated data products suitable for quantitative scientific analysis. In the years since its initial release, IRAF has been used in nearly 25,000 scientific publications. Most significantly for DESI, all the images collected by the Legacy Surveys (DECaLS, MzLS, and BASS) to enable DESI’s spectroscopic target selection were processed through an IRAF-based pipeline created by Frank and operated by him and other NOIRLab staff members. The DESI Collaboration congratulates Frank on this well-deserved recognition!