Michael G. Littman
Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Ph.D. 1977, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Michael Littman is an experimentalist in optics and spectroscopy. He is helping to design telescopes that would allow for optical imaging of earth-like planets around nearby stars. The project is interdisciplinary and it is collaborative. Profs. Littman (MAE), Kasdin (MAE), Spergel (AST), Vanderbei (ORF), and Turner (AST) are all working together on this project. The telescope reduces the deleterious problem of diffraction with the help of a customized entrance pupil. The shaped pupil is a concept originated by Spergel and improved upon by Kasdin and Vanderbei. Adaptive optical methods are needed to reach contrast ratios required to detect faint planets. Littman teaches in the areas of mechatronics, automatic control systems, and in the history of modern engineering.