Bill Hrudey receives MBE honor

Astronomer set to unveil new telescope

Governor Helen Kilpatrick gives Dr. Bill Hrudey his MBE medal on Thursday at Government House, as his wife Gigi looks on. – PHOTO: KEN SILVA

Dr. Bill Hrudey was given the Member of the British Empire award on Thursday night at the Government House for helping promote science in the territory since he moved here in 1997.

“It’s humbling, delightful and all sorts of other adjectives and adverbs to describe the experience,” Dr. Hrudey said to a group of friends and family after receiving the honor from Governor Helen Kilpatrick. “All I can say is, ‘Thank you.’”

The other Caymanians who were recognized in the U.K.’s New Year’s Honors List – Olive Miller and Betty Baraud – will be honored later this year. Dr. Hrudey received the award last week because health complications may make him unable to attend later ceremonies, he told the Compass.

Dr. Hrudey, the director of the self-named Dr. William Hrudey Observatory at the University College of the Cayman Islands, launched the Science Fair with the Rotary Club in 2006. He also spearheaded bringing the STEM Carib Conference to the UCCI.

The former surgeon and astronomer has also developed several world-class telescopes, including one that he hopes to unveil in the near future that will be the second-largest of its kind in the world.

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Dr. Hrudey’s latest telescope is a dedicated solar telescope that will take high-resolution images of the sun. It’s a larger version of one that he previously developed, he said.

“I wasn’t happy, I wanted more. It’s like when you have a yacht and want it to be two feet longer,” he said.

All that’s left to complete the new telescope is to change some code that runs the device’s system, said Dr. Hrudey. Once that’s finished, he said he will unveil the new telescope – hopefully next month, he said.

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