Senior Research Scientist
Dr. L. Matthew Haffner joined SSI in November 2012 as a Senior Research Scientist. Matt's primary efforts have been to characterize the distribution and ecology of diffuse ionized gas in and around the Milky Way. His broader science interests include a variety of aspects of the interstellar medium, Galactic structure, and the evolution of spiral galaxies. For the past eight years, he has been PI of the long-running Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper (WHAM), a Fabry-Perot survey instrument tailored for observations of faint, diffuse optical emission. As a graduate student in Madison, Matt designed much of the high-level operational software to integrate instrument subsystems and made WHAM one of the first remotely-controlled observatories in the mid-1990s. Efficiency gained through automation allowed the WHAM team to complete a northern-sky survey of the Galactic diffuse H-alpha emission in 18 months. The survey became the first kinematically-resolved map of the Milky Way's ionized gas. With a half-time appointment at UW to continue his science efforts, his current work at SSI supports the operation of WHAM at CTIO in Chile.