• The 2016 Thomas W. Schmitt Annual Staff Prize winner, John Henning (center), Senior Research Engineer at the Palomar Observatory with (from left to right) Dean Currie, President Thomas Rosenbaum, Tom Schmitt and Ted Jenkins.
    Credit: Caltech

Recipient of the 2016 Schmitt Prize: John Henning

June 2, 2016, Beckman Auditorium

John Henning

Joined Caltech: 1984

On the job: Henning, senior research engineer at Palomar Observatory, designs and maintains control systems to guide and safeguard Palomar's three telescopes. Since he is so familiar with telescopes' inner workings, he is often involved in troubleshooting and improvements at the Observatory.

Nickname: "The Wizard," since Henning has a solution to every challenge.

Why he loves his work: "I enjoy working with our dedicated, hard-working staff. And getting the telescopes to perform new tricks is a lot of fun; there is always an opportunity to be creative."

The Schmitt Prize was established in 2007 through the initiative of Thomas W. Schmitt, former associate vice president for human resources. Schmitt proposed the idea of a staff prize to senior administrators, and it was eventually funded by Ted Jenkins, Caltech alumnus (BS '65, MS '66) and trustee, who spent his professional career in the semiconductor industry. All staff members are eligible for this award and are nominated by members of the Caltech community.