european principal investigator for the mid-infrared instrument (MIRI)
Gillian Wright is the European principal investigator for the Mid-Infrared instrument (MIRI) on the James Webb Space Telescope. Wright leads the nationally funded European consortium of institutes that have developed the MIRI instrument in a partnership with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
Professor Wright is also a research astronomer, who specializes in infrared observatories and astronomical instrumentation as well as studies of star formation and dust in interacting galaxies. Wright serves as the Director of the U.K. Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland and a member of the Webb telescope Science Working Group. She's the present co-Investigator for Herschel, a recent European Space Agency mission, for the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver instrument.
Earlier in her career, she worked at the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, where she became head of instrumentation. In 2006, Queen Elizabeth II made Wright a member of the most excellent order of the British empire for Services to Science.
In her spare time, Wright is a keen gardener and likes growing chilies in her greenhouse. She also enjoys hiking and exploring ancient monuments.