Howard Hui

Howard Hui

Postdoc in the Division of Physics, Math and Astronomy

Hometown: Portland, Oregon. But I lived in Hong Kong during middle school.

Date of this Interview: June 15, 2022

What do you research?

I develop instruments to study the early universe. Current projects include the BICEP telescopes in Antarctica, observing the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), searching for the primordial gravitational waves. SPHEREx, a NASA mission designed to map the entire sky in near-infrared spectroscopy. Target to launch in a Falcon 9 in 2025, SPHEREx will probe the physics of inflation by measuring the non-Gaussianity by studying the large-scale structure.

Why does space inspire you?

With light traveling at a finite speed, looking at various objects in the Universe allow us to look back in time. The oldest light in the Universe is the Cosmic Microwave Background, it comes from the time photons last interacted with matter in the Universe at about 380,000 years after the Big Bang, and I believe this is the ultimate history we all inspire to study.

If you could instantly travel to any point in the universe, where would you choose to go?

With the recent photos by the Event Horizon Telescope, which use observations from a worldwide network of radio telescopes to capture a direct visual images of Black Holes, including Sagittarius A*, a Black Hole at the heart of our galaxy. I would like to travel to the center of our galaxy to see it in person (which is probably a bad idea).

Where can you be found when you’re not conducting research?

You can find me backpacking around the world, or camping in the High Sierra right here in California.

What book do you wish you could read for the first time again?

I still need to learn how to speak Elvish, but I would love to read Lord of the Rings again.

Picture of Howard carrying the telescope detector

Picture of Howard carrying the BICEP telescope detector to South Pole, Antarctica.