Senior Structural Engineer
Amir received his doctoral and master's degrees in applied mechanics and mechanical engineering from Caltech. He also has two certificates in management of technology and engineering management from Caltech’s Industrial Relations Center. Prior to joining TMT, Amir was a member of the civil/structural engineering team of the Bechtel Power Corporation, responsible for the design, analysis, and construction of nuclear, gas fired, and coal fired power plants around the globe. Before his doctoral studies on constitutive modeling of shape memory alloys, Amir earned a master’s and a bachelor’s degree from University of Tehran’s civil and structural engineering department, where his focus was on applications of fuzzy logic in finite element modeling and analysis of structural systems. Amir has been a recipient of numerous awards and his profile has been selected for Marquis Who's Who in America 2009 and 2010 editions.
Gary Sanders spent 25 years performing high-energy physics experiments at laboratories in the United States and Europe. He earned an AB degree in physics from Columbia University and a PhD in high-energy physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been a faculty member in physics at Princeton University and a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In 1994, Gary came to Caltech to serve as the Project Manager and Deputy Director for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) project. Gary joined TMT as its Project Manager in 2004. He is the author or a co-author of more than 175 peer-reviewed publications and he has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
Matthias Schoeck started his studies in physics at the University in Karlsruhe, Germany and received his PhD in astrophysics from the University of Wyoming in 1998. He has been working on site testing issues for TMT, and previously for CELT/GSMT, since 2001. His previous experience, gained during postdoctoral positions in Lyon, France and Irvine, California, is in adaptive optics and methods of atmospheric turbulence analysis. Matthias currently leads the TMT Site Testing Group.
System Engineering Group
Byoung-Joon Seo joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., where he has worked for the System Engineering Group of TMT since 2007. He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Seoul National University in 1998 and a master’s and Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001 and 2007, respectively. Byoung-Joon has authored and co-authored more than 30 conference proceedings and journal articles in the areas of photonics, optics, and astronomical telescopes.
Enclosure Group Leader
Michael Sheehan has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in structural engineering from Tufts University. He worked at various aerospace companies, mainly doing structural dynamics and performance modeling on ground, air and space vehicles. For the past 24 years, he has worked on the design and development of astronomical observatories including the structural design, performance analysis and construction of telescopes, telescope enclosures and various observatory subsystems. Mike is the Enclosure Group Leader for TMT.
Zhixia Shen received her Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Astronomy Department, Peking University in 2008. From 2006-2008, she studied in the European Southern Observatory. Zhixia works now for the TMT-China office in National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Her science interests include: abundance analysis of young open cluster stars, chemical evolution of globular clusters, chemical evolution of the Galaxy, stars with planets and science goals for the next-generation giant telescope.
Group Leader -- Instrumentation
Luc Simard is an astronomer at the National Research Council of Canada's Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics. He obtained his B.Sc. from Queen's University in 1990 and his Ph.D. from the University of Victoria in 1996. From 1996 to 2002, he held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Arizona, Steward Observatory. He joined NRC-HIA in 2002. His research interests include galaxy formation and evolution, image processing and astronomical instrumentation. He is currently working on developing instruments for the Thirty Meter Telescope.
Telescope Controls Group Leader
Mark Sirota has bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and California State University at Fullerton, respectively. Prior to joining TMT, Mark spent nearly 15 years at the W.M. Keck Observatory as part of the Senior Management Team and was the Project Manager for the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer. Mark’s background is in dynamics and control and he has authored a number of papers on the subject; in addition, Mark has experience in technical and project management. Mark is responsible for TMT's telescope control systems, including precision control of the 492 primary mirror segments.
Telescope Research Engineer
Warren Skidmore has a bachelor of science degree (honors) in physics and astrophysics from Leicester University, master of science degree in astrophysics from QMWC, University of London, and a PhD in astrophysics from Keele University. He has published many research articles within the field of cataclysmic variables, is an experienced and active observational astronomer, and often acts as a referee for astronomical journals. Warren has worked extensively within the TMT site testing group and has developed new methods for assessing the quality of sites for astronomical observations. He continues to work within the TMT systems engineering group as an experimental scientist, assisting the design and development of TMT by investigating the behavior of the telescope subsystems. Home page
Telescope Department Head
Larry Stepp has a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary science and a master's degree in engineering mechanics from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. He has more than 20 years of experience in the mechanical design, fabrication, and testing of large optics, including management responsibility for the WIYN primary mirror assembly and the Gemini Optics group. Larry led the AURA New Initiatives Office team that developed the concept for the Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope (GSMT), one of the precursors to TMT. He has been active in the SPIE symposiums on telescopes and instruments for astronomy and has chaired several conference
TMT-J IRIS Development Lead
Ryuji Suzuki obtained a Ph.D. in astronomy from Tohoku University in Japan in 2006. For over ten years, Ryuji was deeply involved in infrared instrument projects for the Subaru Telescope. He joined the TMT project in 2008 as a member of IRIS development team, and has since been responsible for the IRIS imager. After working closely with an AO group at the TMT project office in Pasadena, he joined the TMT-J team in 2011 as an IRIS imager development lead.
Enclosure Group Leader
Kei Szeto has a bachelor of engineering degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University and a master's degree in ocean engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Kei has over 20 years of mechanical engineering design experience, including more than 10 years of direct experience in the development of astronomical instruments. Kei has led teams of astronomers, engineers, and technicians in various instrumentation projects. Kei's expertise is in optomechanical design, structural and dynamic analyses, and scientific project management by providing technical and organizational leadership to the design team. Kei is a Professional Engineer in the province of British Columbia, Canada.