Caty Pilachowski and Sidney Wolff
Each year, AURA makes an award for excellence in service to NOAO. For the year 2000, this award was presented to Jeannette Barnes for 38 years of outstanding service. The award was given on April 28, Jeannette's last working day at NOAO. To the dismay of staff and visitors alike, Jeannette is retiring.
Jeannette Barnes started working for KPNO in 1961. She soon became a mainstay of the Observatory, always focused on the goal of helping visitors and staff extract their science from the complexities of telescopes, instruments, and computers. Jeannette has a wonderful knack for anticipating trends and re-inventing her job to position herself to meet the future needs of both the astronomical community and the Observatory. As her vision became reality and these future needs became current imperatives, Jeannette was in the center of activity.
Visitors from the '60s and '70s will remember Jeannette's tireless efforts to assist observers starting runs on Kitt Peak, as well as her significant contributions to the establishment and calibration of Stromgren photometry. The many users of the Intensified Reticon Scanner at the #2-36" benefited as well from Jeannette's hard work to bring that instrument on-line.
In the early 1980s, Jeannette was in the middle of the activity to move NOAO's data reduction and analysis software from fragile and specialized programs that could only be run on the computers in the Tucson Headquarters building to robust, portable, and extensible programs that could run anywhere. She became the liaison between the programmers that built the Image Reduction and Analysis Facility (IRAF) and the astronomical community--she tested IRAF; she taught IRAF; she lobbied for changes in IRAF; and above all she evangelized IRAF through newsletters, tutorials, cookbooks, workshops, conferences, and endless telephone and e-mail conversations. Jeannette and her team's efforts helped to make IRAF the indispensable tool for astronomers that it has become.
In the 1990s, Jeannette was in the forefront of activities to use the Internet to increase the productivity of astronomers and the efficiency of astronomical institutions. She helped the American Astronomical Society and its journals enter the era of electronic publishing with electronic submission of papers in LaTeX and on-line publication. She recognized early on the potential of the World Wide Web for the efficient dissemination of information and spearheaded the effort to convert NOAO's manuals, documentation, and newsletters for on-line use. She has preached the usefulness of e-mail and the Web inside NOAO and has helped to re-engineer many internal processes to make use of these technologies.
Today, Jeannette is heavily involved with the NOAO telescope proposal process. She was a part of these efforts from the beginning through her expertise in electronic publishing and the Internet. Jeannette's contributions have culminated with today's Web-based proposal submission system that enables astronomers to do "one-stop" proposing for observing time on the telescopes at KPNO, CTIO, Gemini, HET, and the MMT, and that enables NOAO to efficiently process, review, schedule, and coordinate these proposals.
We know that the many users of NOAO join us in congratulating Jeannette on receiving the AURA Service Award, in wishing her the very best in her retirement, and in thanking her for all she has contributed to the success of so many scientific programs carried out at NOAO.