Jacqueline Hewitt (born September 4, 1958) is an American astrophysicist. She was the first person to discover an Einstein ring.

Jacqueline Hewitt
Jacqueline N. Hewitt.png
Born(1958-09-04)September 4, 1958
Alma materBryn Mawr College Massachusetts Institute of Technology
AwardsAnnie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy

Early life and educationEdit

Hewitt was born in Washington, D.C. on September 4, 1958 to parents Warren E. Hewitt, a retired international lawyer from the State Department, and Gertrud (Graedel) Hewitt. She attended Bryn Mawr College where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in economics in 1980.[1] Hewitt took an astronomy class at Haverford College her sophomore year, which sparked her interest in science. She attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for graduate school. During her graduate studies, she began studying gravitational lensing using the Very Large Array radio telescope. Hewitt obtained a Ph.D. in physics in 1986.[2] Some sources erroneously state that she received her Ph.D. in 1988.[3][4]


Hewitt was appointed with a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT as part of the Very-long-baseline interferometry unit from 1986-1988. While analyzing the data from her graduate studies, she found a ring on her computer screen. This ring, part of the gravitational lens system MG1131+0456, ended up being the very first Einstein ring discovered. Since Hewitt's groundbreaking discovery, many other Einstein rings have been discovered, and were found to be far more common than astronomers thought. Einstein rings are important because they can help answer questions about the size and the fate of our universe. Hewitt worked as a researcher at Princeton University's Department of Astrophysical Sciences in 1988. After one year of researching at Princeton, she returned to MIT as an assistant physics professor, working as a full-time professor since 1989. Hewitt is also the principal investigator for the Radio Astronomy Group of the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT.[3][4] Since 2002, Hewitt has been appointed Director of the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.[5]


In 1990, Hewitt won the David and Lucile Packard Foundation fellowship. For her work on gravitational lenses, her colleagues at MIT nominated her for the 1995-1996 Harold E. Edgerton Award. In 1995, Hewitt was the recipient of the Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award for her work in radio astronomy.[3][4]

Personal lifeEdit

Hewitt has two children: Keith Hewitt Redwine, born in 1988, and Jonathan Hewitt Redwine, born in 1993.[3][4]


  1. ^ "Hewitt takes the controls at Center for Space Research". MIT News. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  2. ^ Hewitt, Jacqueline. "Jacqueline Hewitt". MIT. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Oakes, Elizabeth H. (2002). International encyclopedia of women scientists. New York, NY: Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-4381-7.
  4. ^ a b c d Proffitt,, Pamela (1999). Notable women scientists. Detroit [u.a.]: Gale Group. ISBN 0-7876-3900-1.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  5. ^ "MIT Kavli Institute Directory | MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research". space.mit.edu. Retrieved 2016-06-15.