June 10, 2018 by (Edit)
What is your position on DESI? I am the telescope scientist for the Mayall Telescope on Kitt Peak
Where were you born? Wilmington, Delaware (the First State!)
Where do you live now? Tucson, Arizona (since 1973)
What do you in your position on DESI? In general, I have been involved in the Kitt Peak side of the DESI project, working on requirements and interfacing to ensure that DESI will fit on the telescope as planned. I have participated in numerous reviews at Berkeley (my graduate school alma mater) as part of this work. As the Mayall telescope scientist, I have been involved in the many upgrades we have made to the telescope and building to meet the operational requirements for the success of DESI. More recently, since we have begun the actual deconstruction and installation part of the program, I work as one of the rotating “shift supervisors” at the Mayall telescope, keeping an eye on progress, safety issues, and taking pictures to document the process.
What excites/interests you most about DESI? Growing up in a rural area with (at that time) dark skies, I was always interested in astronomy. From a professional viewpoint, as an experimental physicist and (now) instrumental astronomer, I enjoy building things and making them work. The process of selecting an important scientific topic, designing an approach to attacking the problem, and then designing, building, and making the instrument work is a challenging and often frustrating process, but enormously satisfying when the plan comes together. DESI is the largest project I have been involved in, and it has certainly had its share of challenges and frustration, but seeing the parts arriving and being assembled gives a real feeling of satisfaction and anticipation of some great science when DESI is up and running.
What do you for fun? A lot of my off time is spent walking the dogs through the desert and working around the house. We enjoy traveling to visit our relatives, most of whom live on the East coast. As a lapsed airplane pilot, I may resume that activity should I ever decide to retire and have more time on my hands.