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Ground-based Astronomy in the 21st Century

A National Science Foundation Sponsored Symposium

banner image for the 2003 Symposium, The Universe From the Ground Up

October 7-8, 2003
Omni Shoreham Hotel
Washington, D.C.

Speaker Biographies

Photo of Neta Bahcall

Neta Bahcall
Princeton University

"Dark Matter: The Structure of the Universe"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Part of Panel Discussion -- "Mysteries: What We Don't Know About the Universe"

Neta A. Bahcall is a Professor in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton, Director of the Undergraduate Program in Astronomy, and serves as Director of the Council on Science and Technology of Princeton University.

Her main research interests are in observational cosmology, large-scale structure of the universe, formation and evolution of galaxies, the structure and evolution of clusters of galaxies, dark matter in the universe, and quasars and their environment.

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Photo of Alan Boss

Alan Boss
Carnegie Institute of Washington

"Formation of Habitable Planetary Systems"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Part of Panel Discussion -- "Life: The Quest for Other Worlds"

Alan P. Boss is a staff member at the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) in Washington, DC. Boss's research focuses on using three dimensional hydrodynamics codes to model the formation of stars and planetary systems. He has been helping NASA plan its search for extrasolar planets, and continues to be active in helping to guide NASA's efforts.

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Photo of Laird Close

Laird Close
University of Arizona

"Adaptive Optics"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Part of Panel Discussion -- "Tools: The Coming Generation"

Dr. Laird Close is an assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona, Steward Observatory (Tucson). He obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona and then worked as an astronomer in Hawaii, Europe, and Chile. He is a specialist in a technique called "adaptive optics." Adaptive optics uses cutting-edge technology to allow large ground-based telescopes to make images sharper than those possible from smaller space based telescopes. He has helped develop and has utilized many of the existing adaptive optics systems available today on 6.5-8 meter class telescopes. He uses the unsurpassed clarity of adaptive optics to make discoveries in many areas of observational astrophysics. Some of his research interests include: direct imaging of planets around other stars; discovering brown dwarf binaries and low mass stars; imaging disks around low and high mass stars; finding moons around asteroids.

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Photo of Rita Colwell

Rita R. Colwell
Director, National Science Foundation

"Welcome"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Dr. Rita R. Colwell became the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation on August 4, 1998.

Since taking office, Dr. Colwell has spearheaded the agency's emphases in K-12 science and mathematics education, graduate science and engineering education/training and the increased participation of women and minorities in science and engineering.

Her policy approach has enabled the agency to strengthen its core activities, as well as establish major initiatives, including Nanotechnology, Biocomplexity, Information Technology, Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences and the 21st Century Workforce. In her capacity as NSF Director, she serves as Co-chair of the Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council.

Under her leadership, the Foundation has received significant budget increases, and its funding recently reached a level of more than $5.3 billion.

Before coming to NSF, Dr. Colwell was President of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, 1991-1998, and she remains Professor of Microbiology and Biotechnology (on leave) at the University Maryland. She was also a member of the National Science Board from 1984 to 1990.

Dr. Colwell has held many advisory positions in the U.S. Government, non-profit science policy organizations, and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community. She is a nationally respected scientist and educator, and has authored or co-authored 16 books and more than 600 scientific publications. She produced the award-winning film, Invisible Seas, and has served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Medal of Distinction from Columbia University, the Gold Medal of Charles University, Prague, the UCLA Medal from the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Alumna Summa Laude Dignata from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Dr. Colwell has also been awarded 35 honorary degrees from institutions of higher education, including her Alma Mater, Purdue University. Dr. Colwell is an honorary member of the microbiological societies of the UK, France, Israel, Bangladesh, and the U.S. and has held several honorary professorships, including the University of Queensland, Australia. A geological site in Antarctica, Colwell Massif, has been named in recognition of her work in the polar regions.

Dr. Colwell has previously served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology and also as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society for Microbiology, the Sigma Xi National Science Honorary Society, and the International Union of Microbiological Societies. Dr. Colwell is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Sciences.

Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, Dr. Colwell holds a B.S. in Bacteriology and an M.S. in Genetics, from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Washington.

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Photo of Alan Guth

James Cronin
University of Chicago

"Ultra-high Energy Cosmic Rays: AUGER" (with Paul Mantsch)
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

James Cronin, a world leader in ultrahigh-energy gamma-ray astronomy, is a professor at University of Utah's Department of Physics, and is leading a worldwide attempt to find the source of cosmic rays. Before attending Brookhaven as a postdoctoral student, he attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, IL.

At Brookhaven, Cronin, along with Val Fitch, formed a team (the Cronin-Fitch team). They ultimately described CP Violation, a phenomena that explains why our universe is mostly matter rather than equal parts matter and antimatter, which was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1980. He taught physics at Princeton, then moved to the University of Chicago where he is an emeritus professor.

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Photo of Sandra Faber

Sandra Faber
University of California


"From the Big Bang to Us: Astronomy and Our Place in the Cosmos"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003


Sandra Faber’s research focuses on the formation and evolution of galaxies and the evolution of structure in the universe. She utilizes ground-based optical data obtained with the Lick 3-meter and Keck 10-meter telescopes; she also has several projects on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). She is currently involved in the DEIMOS (Deep-Imaging Multiobject Spectrograph) Project.

Faber is a member of the Wide-Field Camera (I) Team of HST, and is studying stellar populations in nearby globular clusters, elliptical galaxies, and distant clusters of galaxies. She also leads a group of scientists searching for nuclear black holes in using HST FOS (Faint Object Spectrograph) spectroscopy.

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Photo of Mark Giampapa

Mark Giampapa
Deputy Director, National Solar Observatory

"Solar Astronomy: Advanced Technology Solar Telescope"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Mark Giampapa joined the scientific staff of the NSO/NOAO in Tucson, Arizona, in 1982, where he currently serves as the Deputy Director for the National Solar Observatory. He is also an Adjunct Astronomer at Steward Observatory, University of Arizona. Giampapa is a member of both the American Astronomical Society and the International Astronomical Union.

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Photo of Alan Guth

Alan Guth
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Inflation: The Beginning of the Universe"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Part of Panel Discussion -- "Mysteries: What We Don't Know About the Universe"

Alan H. Guth is V.F. Weisskopf Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition to receiving many distinguished academic awards, Newsweek has called him one of "The 25 Top American Innovators," and Science Digest has ranked him among the "100 Brightest Scientists Under 40."

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Photo of Francis Halzen

Francis Halzen
University of Wisconsin, Madison

"Neutrino Astronomy: ICECUBE"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Francis Halzen is a theoretician studying problems at the interface of particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology. Since 1987, he has been working on the AMANDA experiment, a first-generation neutrino telescope at the South Pole. AMANDA observations represent a proof of concept for IceCube, a kilometer-scale neutrino observatory. He is the Hilldale and Gregory Breit Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Principal Investigator for the IceCube project.

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Photo of Christopher Impey

Christopher Impey
University of Arizona

"Life and the Universe"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Christopher Impey is a University Distinguished Professor at the University of Arizona, and Deputy Department Head of Astronomy. He is the creator of a web site that serves more than a thousand students each year with astronomy content and interactive teaching tools. Impey is a founder member of the editorial board of the Astronomy Education Review, and is currently Vice President of the American Astronomical Society.

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Photo of Robert Kirshner

Robert Kirshner
Harvard University

"Unusual Views of Familiar Objects"
Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Robert Kirshner is Clowes Professor of Science at Harvard University. He served as Chairman of the Astronomy Department from 1990-1997 and as Associate Director for Optical and Infrared Astronomy at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics from 1997-2003.

A member of the Amercian Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998, and was elected President of the American Astronomical Society in 2003. His popular-level book "The Extravagant Universe: exploding stars, dark energy, and the accelerating cosmos" was published by Princeton University press in October 2002.

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Photo of Fred Lo

Fred K.Y. Lo
Director, National Radio Astronomy Observatory

"The Atacama Large Millemeter Array Project"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Part of Panel Discussion -- "Tools: The Coming Generation"

Dr. Fred K.Y. Lo, Senior Scientist and Director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, is a radio astronomer. For five years before joining the NRAO, he was Distinguished Research Fellow and Director of the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the Academia Sinica in Taipei. Dr. Lo's research interests include active galactic nuclei and the Center of the Milky Way in particular, mega-masers, star formation in external galaxies, including dwarf galaxies, star-burst galaxies and high z galaxies. He also has extensive expertise in millimeter-wave and sub-millimeter-wave interferometry.

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Photo of Alan Guth

Paul Mantsch
Indiana University

"Ultra-high Energy Cosmic Rays: AUGER" (with James Cronin)
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Paul Mantsch received his B.S degree at Case Institute of Technology and his M.S. and Ph.D. in high energy physics at the University of Illinois–Champaign-Urbana. At Fermilab his early research was at the Tagged Photon Lab. He worked for eleven years on the Superconducting Supercollider (SSC) project, first as leader of the superconducting magnet development program at Fermilab and later on the SDC experiment as the manager of calorimeter systems. Following the demise of the SSC, Mantsch joined Jim Cronin to develop the Pierre Auger project to study the highest energy cosmic rays. He is the project manager of the Auger Project.

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Photo of Matt Mountain

Charles Mattias "Matt" Mountain
Director, Gemini Observatory

"Entering a New Age in Ground-based Astronomy: Gemini Observatory"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Charles Mattias "Matt" Mountain is the Director of the Gemini Observatory. Before joining Gemini, he was working at the Joint Astronomy Centre in Hawaii in charge of a program for implementing active and adaptive optics on the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) Telescope. Between joining Gemini in 1992 and assuming the Directorship in 1994, Matt was the International Project Scientist, chairing the International Gemini Science Committee. During his seven years at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, he worked on observations of star formation processes and instrumentation for infrared astronomy, culminating in the successful commissioning of a new infrared spectrometer for the UKIRT in Hawaii.

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Photo of Jerry Nelson

Jerry Nelson
University of California, Santa Cruz

"Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Part of Panel Discussion -- "Tools: The Coming Generation"

Dr. Jerry E. Nelson is currently a Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics Astronomer, UC Observatories/Lick Observatory. He is the Keck Observatory Scientist, having been involved with the design of the two Keck telescopes. His interests include the designing of future giant telescopes, and he is also involved in the adaptive optics system being used and developed at Keck.

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Photo of Bernard Sadoulet

Bernard Sadoulet
University of California, Berkeley

"Experimental Searches for Dark Matter: CDMS II"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Bernard Sadoulet, a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique and a "Docteur es Sciences" of Paris-Orsay University, is by training an elementary particle physicist. As such, he had the chance of participating in two prestigious experiments which led to Nobel Prizes: the Mark I experiment at SLAC which discovered the J/y, the t lepton and the charm; and UA1 at CERN which discovered the intermediate vector bosons W and Z. Upon deciding to shift his efforts towards particle astrophysics and cosmology, he was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and in 1989 he was chosen as the Director of the Center for Particle Astrophysics.

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Photo of Sara Seager

Sara Seager
Carnegie Institute of Washington

"Extrasolar Planets"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Part of Panel Discussion -- "Life: The Quest for Other Worlds"

Sara Seager is an astrophysicist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Her primary research focus is on extrasolar planets. Her recent focus has been on writing detailed computer models and using them to both guide and interpret observations of extrasolar giant planet atmospheres. One of her predictions led to the first extrasolar planet atmosphere detection in 2001. Seager is involved in many planned and proposed space missions, including NASA's planned Terrestrial Planet Finder, which is being designed to detect and characterize Earth-like planets orbiting nearby stars. One of her long-term goals is to find signs of life, via extremely remote sensing of Earth-like planet atmospheres.

Seager earned her BSc in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Toronto. She earned her PhD in Astronomy from Harvard University and spent three years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton before joining the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

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Photo of Christopher Stubbs

Christopher Stubbs
Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophyisics

"Dark Energy: The Future of the Universe"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Part of Panel Discussion -- "Mysteries: What We Don't Know About the Universe"

Christopher Stubbs was most recently a faculty member of both the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at the University of Washington (he has since become a Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University). His research involves observational cosmology, in particular trying to identify the nature of the "dark matter" that pervades the Universe. He is a Fellow of the Packard and Sloan Foundations.

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Photo of Alex Szalay

Alex Szalay
Johns Hopkins University

"National Virtual Observatories"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Part of Panel Discussion -- "Tools: The Coming Generation"

Alexander Szalay is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the Johns Hopkins University. His interests are theoretical astrophysics and galaxy formation. His research includes: Multicolor Properties of Galaxies, Galaxy Evolution, the Large Scale Power Spectrum of Fluctuations, Gravitational Lensing, and Pattern recognition and Classification Problems.

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Photo of Max Tegmark

Max Tegmark
University of Pennsylvania

"Cosmic Microwave Background and Other Clues"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Part of Panel Discussion -- "Mysteries: What We Don't Know About the Universe"


Max Tegmark is Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania and a visiting Associate Professor at MIT. His main research area is cosmology theory and phenomenology, using tools like galaxy clustering and the cosmic microwave background radiation to measure the properties of our Universe, place sharp constraints on cosmological models and their free parameters.

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Photo of Kip Thorne

Kip Thorne
California Institute of Technology

"Ground-based Gravitational Wave Astronomy: LIGO"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Kip Thorne is the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech. His research has focused on gravitation physics and astrophysics, with emphasis on black holes and gravitational waves. He was cofounder (with R. Weiss and R.W.P. Drever) of the LIGO (Laser Interfrerometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) Project and is a member of the LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) International Science Team.

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Photo of Michael Turner

Michael Turner
Assistant Director, NSF’s Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences

"Introductory Remarks" and Panel Moderator
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Michael Turner is the Bruce V. & Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor, Departments of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics, Enrico Fermi Institute, and the University of Chicago, and Chairman, Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics. His research interests are in Theoretical astrophysics, cosmology and elementary particle physics, cosmology.

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Photo of Tony Tyson

J. Anthony "Tony" Tyson
Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies

"Large Synoptic Survey Telescope"
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Part of Panel Discussion -- "Tools: The Coming Generation"

J. Anthony "Tony" Tyson graduated from Stanford University in 1962, and obtained a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Wisconsin in 1967. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago, and has been at Bell Laboratories since 1969. A Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Labs since 1985, his research has been in experimental gravitation, superfluid helium, cosmology, optical instrumentation for low-light-level imaging, pattern recognition and oceanography.

His current astrophysics research centers on experimental cosmology, specifically observational probes of dark matter and dark energy in the universe. Tyson is director of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope project. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

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