Thirty Meter Telescope

Astronomy's next generation observatory.

About TMT

International Science Development Teams

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) has instituted International Science Development Teams (ISDTs). These have been established to foster scientific collaboration across the TMT partnership and beyond, into the broader astronomical community. The ISDTs will provide scientific input and feedback to the TMT project, stimulate scientific planning for future observing programs using TMT, and help build connections between TMT and the international astronomical community. Initially, eight ISDTs have been formed, each focused on a different scientific topic, as listed below.

Membership open to all qualified Ph.D. scientists, both from the current TMT partners and from the astronomical community at large.

Goals of the ISDTs:

  • Help to define the observatory capabilities and operations to maximize its scientific output.
  • Broaden the base of scientists actively engaged in the TMT project, including, e.g., observers, theorists, high-energy physicists.
  • Build science-driven collaborations across the partnership.
  • Demonstrate the full potential of TMT in key science areas cutting across instrumentation boundaries.
  • Increase visibility of the TMT science by producing white papers and organizing workshops.

Examples of activities of the ISDTs:

  • Update and expand the TMT Detailed Science Case document.
  • Write white papers (e.g., defining possible TMT key programs) that will inform decisions on operations issues, such as time allocation procedures and data management.
  • Work with the instrument science teams, e.g., providing input on science requirements for the instrument designs, or to simulate TMT instrument capabilities.
  • Model theoretical predictions that can guide scientific and instrumentation planning.
  • Identify ancillary data and precursor datasets needed to prepare for TMT observations.
  • Identify tasks that need to be done and items that need to be in place before first light at the observatory, instrumentation, and software level.
  • Exercise data-reduction pipelines early.
  • Advertise TMT science; sponsor education and public outreach programs.
  • Advise on future instrumentation by connecting with instrument working groups.

Benefits from joining the ISDTs:

  • Meet potential collaborators.
  • Become better informed about TMT. Be ready to write successful proposals and make the best use of TMT at first light.
  • Ground-floor membership in large-project consortia.
  • Membership may help secure support from funding agencies.
  • The registration fee to the TMT Science Forum is waived for ISDT members.

Membership of the ISDTs does not imply access to telescope time nor to funding from the TMT project.

Organization of the ISDTs:

  • 8 ISDTs (see list below) have been established, each with two conveners and a small number of initial members. These groups first met at the TMT Science Forum in July 2013.
  • ISDT conveners are selected by the TMT SAC.
  • The ISDTs are self-organized. Each ISDT will set its own detailed goals and timeline in accordance with the guidelines of the SAC.
  • Calls for new members will be issued every year. Starting with the second call (2014), proposals for new working groups can also be submitted. The SAC approves membership applications based on the recommendations of a panel consisting of all the ISDTs conveners.
  • Membership requires real work. Applicants will need to clearly and credibly identify the time and resource commitments to the working group. Membership of multiple ISDTs is allowed, provided enough time and resources are available.
  • Membership is annual. Members who wish to continue their participation to the ISDTs will have to submit a renewal request to the conveners. The sole criterion for renewal is active participation.
  • Membership is open to Ph.D. scientists anywhere, including faculty, staff, and postdocs. Members can nominate their graduate students as affiliate members.

ISDT topics and conveners:

A list of initial science working groups and conveners is given below. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the ISDT conveners to learn more about the ISDTs and their activities.