NOAO < NEWS < Press Release: Dr. Sidney Wolff Honored at Chilean Dedication

Dr. Sidney Wolff

Dr. Sidney Wolff

Montage of ceremony images

Montage of ceremony images

Dr. Willim Smith addresses the group at the ceremony

Dr. William Smith addresses the group at the ceremony

Dr. Sidney Wolff

The AURA Board and other dignitaries gather with Sidney Wolff for a group picture. From left: Chris Smith, Paula Szkody, John Peoples, Bill Smith, Mike Shull, Caty Pilachowski, Dan Larson, Elizabeth Hoffman, Sidney Wolff, Mark Phillips, Dave Silva, Jeff Kuhn, Steve Keil, Steve Heathcote, Nancy Levenson.

Dr. Sidney Wolff Honored at Chilean Dedication

The groundbreaking for the viewpoint Vista Sidney Wolff took place on February 1, 2010. The vista is on the road to the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile and has a beautiful view of the SOAR and Gemini telescopes and also of the site selected for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). The construction of the vista point is a tribute to Dr. Sidney C. Wolff’s leadership in enabling the construction of these world-class facilities on Cerro Pachón high in the Andes mountains. Dr. Wolff served as President of the SOAR Board and first Director of the Gemini Observatory. She is currently President of the LSST Corporation.

At the dedication ceremony Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) President Dr. William Smith noted that “Sidney Wolff point is no longer just a turn in the road on the way to CTIO, it has become a turning point for AURA and opens a path to the future with a complex of cutting-edge telescopes on Cerro Pachón.” AURA members include 34 U.S. institutions and 6 international affiliates.

Professor Caty Pilachowski, Vice-Chair of the AURA Board and Daniel Kirkwood Chair of Astronomy at Indiana University, praised the management style of Dr. Wolff and her gift for forging collaborations that have changed the entire field of astronomy. “Sidney has shown us a new way to do business, learning to work together to accomplish much more than any of these institutions or nations could do on their own.”

Dr. Wolff has led a number of other organizations and professional societies in her career. She was named Director of the Kitt Peak National Observatory in 1984, and became Director of the National Optical Observatories in 1987, a position she held until 2001, making her the longest serving director of the organization. She also served as President of both the American Astronomical Society and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Dr. Wolff is also well-know for her commitment to science education. She was a co-founder of the Astronomy Education Review and also received the American Astronomical Society Education Prize in 2006.

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NOAO is operated by AURA under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.