Bob Schommer, Caty Pilachowski, and Todd Boroson
As the Gemini Observatory evolves from a construction project into a working observatory and part of the suite of US facilities, the USGP will be evolving in both structure and personnel. Bob Schommer (based in Chile at CTIO) has become US Gemini Project scientist, as of 1 February, taking on the role that Todd Boroson has fulfilled for the past six years. Caty Pilachowski has become Deputy Project Scientist, coordinating aspects of the US project office in Tucson. Instrument support scientists drawn from both NOAO sites will be supporting US users of the Gemini telescopes, and for this year the principal players include Mike Merrill (for NIRI, the U. Hawaii IR imager and spectrograph), Tod Lauer (for Hokupa'a, the UH AO + IR imager, a "visitor instrument"), and Patrice Bouchet (for OSCIR, the Florida mid-IR imager and spectrograph, also a "visitor instrument").
Additional instrument scientists at both sites include Steve Ridgway, Nick Suntzeff, Bob Blum, Chris Smith, Ken Hinkle, and Jay Elias. All of these support scientists will be receiving e-mails for their specific instrument assignments via requests that users submit to the Helpdesk (see accompanying Newsletter article); their job is to help US astronomers understand the proposal process, prepare proposals, and reduce Gemini observations. They will interact closely with the International Gemini Observatory scientific staff and provide the needed additional resources to allow these telescopes to attain full scientific productivity as soon as possible. They and others at NOAO have had analogous roles as instrument or telescope scientists for KPNO or CTIO over the years, and the Gemini tasks are part of NOAO's role of supporting the US ground-based astronomy effort.
In addition, Taft Armandroff has been appointed US Gemini Project Manager, in charge of US instrumentation efforts for the Gemini Observatory. He will help define the US instrument packages and work actively with groups in the US community that have the interest and capability to build instruments for 8-m telescopes. Mark Trueblood, the USGP workscope manager, will work with Taft and help manage the on-going US instrumentation efforts. The USG Project Manager and Project Scientist will work together closely to coordinate US efforts and inputs to the Gemini Observatory to help achieve the scientific and technical goals that will advance the overall US astronomy effort.
In addition, Jeanette Barnes and members of the IRAF software group will provide support for data reduction for these new instruments and capabilities.