Korea Looks to the Future with GMT
The Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI), established in 1974 as
the national astronomical observatory of South Korea, is a government-funded research institute. The institute maintains several
optical and radio observatories and GPS stations in Korea and overseas. As the only national institute devoted to supporting the
Korean astronomical community, KASI plays a critical role in underpinning the advancement of astronomical science and technology.
The participation in the GMT project as the 9th founding, and only Asian, member is a groundbreaking achievement for Korea. This
has fulfilled both KASI and the Korean astronomical community's dream of making the quantum leap to global top-tier status for
Korean astronomy. In this effort, two astronomers are worthy of special attention as they are acting as key leaders in science and
technology development related to GMT.
Dr. Jaemann Kyeong
Dr. Jaemann Kyeong, the K-GMT research scientist in KASI, is active in studies of galaxy formation and evolution in clusters, a key science
area for the GMT. The connection between galaxy formation and the birth of stars and planetary systems provides a direct link from
cosmological studies down to the scale of habitable zones in planetary systems. Dr. Kyeong and his colleagues in Korea hope to use
the unique power of GMT to link galaxy formation and evolution studies over the full Hubble time.
"I absolutely agree that Korea should prepare for the era of GMT by carrying out research programs in midcourse phase which
will help Korean astronomy prepare for the big jump from 1.8m to 25m apertures, as pointed out by international experts. We
expect to advance the research capability of KASI together with the Korean universities based on the joint research using international
4m to 8m telescopes in preparing for GMT. To speed growth we plan to send Korean astronomers to the top astronomical institutes
overseas and seek opportunities for international collaborations. Since today's students will be the primary users of GMT, we are
paying special attention to providing opportunities for them in Korean and international universities," Dr. Kyeong said.
Dr. In-Soo Yuk
The Infrared Astronomy Group at KASI, led by Dr. In-Soo Yuk, is developing two high-resolution near infrared spectrographs
(IGRINS and GMTNIRS) in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin. IGRINS (Immersion GRating INfrared Spectrograph) is
an innovative instrument that enables simultaneous observation in all of the H- or K-band with a single exposure. It uses silicon
immersion gratings to achieve high dispersion in a small package. It is also the forerunner instrument of GMTNIRS (GMT Near-Infrared
Spectrograph), a candidate for a first generation GMT instrument. A concept design study for GMTNIRS is underway at this time at
KASI and UT Austin. KASI is endeavoring to ensure that GMTNIRS will go into operation early in the life of the facility and that it
will enable major advances in our understanding of the formation and early evolution of stars, protoplanetary disks and other
phenomena in the Milky Way and at cosmological distances.
Visit KASI's website..
Keith Raybould Joins GMT as Project Manager
GMTO is pleased to welcome Keith Raybould as Project Manager. Keith
comes to GMTO after 11 years at MBARI (the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute), most recently as Chief Operating Officer
managing major projects funded by the National Science Foundation's Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction
(NSF MREC) budget. Keith brings deep experience and expertise working with large project teams tackling engineering challenges
associated with large telescope projects.
Keith's engineering career started in the marine field with the Royal Corp of Naval Constructors, designing and procuring naval
ships. He moved into the telescope field in 1983 to work on the 3.8m United Kingdom Infrared Red Telescope (UKIRT) and the
15m sub-millimeter James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) in Hawaii. While at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory managing
the thermal and structural group designing space satellite instrumentation, he was offered the opportunity to work with Roger
Davies on the United Kingdom Large Telescope project at Oxford University. After two years of development work, the United
Kingdom, the United States and Canada joined together for what became the Gemini 8m telescope project.
In the early 1990's, Keith moved to Tucson, Arizona to manage the Gemini 8m telescope structure, building and enclosure
groups, taking each of these areas from their early requirements phase to site construction. He thought that the Gemini 8m
telescope was the most exciting and rewarding project he worked on, until GMT came along. "The opportunity to be the
project manager for GMT, to work with a first-class project team, and to work with international partners to develop one
of the most powerful telescopes in the world is an opportunity I really could not miss."
Chicago President Zimmer Visits GMT Site
December brought a special visitor to the Las Campanas Observatory, as
President Robert J. Zimmer of the University of Chicago came to see the Observatory and learn first-hand about the research being
conducted there. Zimmer, who was joined by David Greene, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for the University of Chicago, was
making his first trip to Chile as university president.
"Visiting Las Campanas was an essential part of our trip," Zimmer said.
"It was informative to view first-hand the telescopes and to learn more about the plans for the Giant Magellan Telescope." During
the visit, Zimmer met with the director of the observatory, the chief scientist and engineer who built the existing Magellan telescopes,
and one of the principal designers of the Giant Magellan Telescope. Additionally, there was a tour of each of the two Magellan
The group also heard a lecture from Wendy Freedman, GMTO Chair and Director of the Carnegie Observatories, who spoke about
her excitement that the University of Chicago has joined the Magellan consortium as a key intellectual partner. There was also a
lecture by Michael Gladders, an assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago, who said he came
to Chicago in part because of the promise of working on these telescopes.
Several prominent Chileans accompanied President Zimmer on the trip, and they gained an appreciation of the telescopes' importance
for science and of the telescope industry's role in Chile. "We continue to be very enthusiastic at the prospects for the Giant Magellan
Telescope," Zimmer said. "It is clearly a project of enormous technical complexity, but one that we all anticipate will illuminate the
early universe and enhance both our detailed and conceptual understanding of it."