Issue 15 • January/February, 2008
Thirty Meter Telescope
Project Manager's Corner: A Whole Lot of Things Going On
 
 Gary H. Sanders, TMT Project Manager

There are a whole lot of things going on. Every day the pace is picking up as TMT enters the final design phase and as we begin to plan the initiation of construction. The number of vendor meetings, bidding meetings, design review meetings and meetings with hosts of potential sites has reached a cadence where almost every day something significant is happening.

The past week is a good example. We finished placing four industry design contracts for our secondary and tertiary mirror systems, we held a pre bid vendor meeting with potential suppliers of the specialized computing for our adaptive optics system, and we became a legal entity in Chile by the Chilean President's decree! That is not a bad week. This is especially so as I write this as I fly back across the Pacific from, among other things, a meeting with a potential supplier of another major TMT subsystem. This is the way a big project should be.

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TMT's Inagural Exhibit at AAS
  Sandra Dawson and Dave Silva

The inaugural TMT exhibit at the winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin, Texas was a great success. Hundreds of people visited our booth, picked up a bookmark and/or brochure, and watched the TMT fly-through video. Visitors also had a chance to chat with TMT scientists and engineers including George Angeli, Puragra (Raja) Guhathakurta, Jerry Nelson, Reed Riddle, David Silva, and Chuck Steidel. Sandra Dawson, our communications officer, was also present for the entire meeting.

The booth production team included Sandra Dawson (logistics), David Silva (overall booth and brochure design and production), Lennon Rodgers (graphics and animation), and Jerry Nelson (bookmarks) with assistance from Puragra (Raja) Guhathakurta. Kim Parrish of Odyssey Exhibits produced the final booth design as well as the booth itself.

We learned a lot from this first foray into exhibits and look forward to an even better display next time. See you at the January 2009 AAS meeting in Long Beach!

Science Nugget—Understanding the Dynamics of Galaxy Formation in the Early Universe
  David Law, California Institute of Technology

In the local universe, we see a familiar population of galaxies: dwarfs, spirals and ellipticals whose structures have shaped our understanding of morphological diversity. In contrast to our knowledge of the present-day structure and distribution of these galaxies however, our knowledge of their formation mechanisms is rudimentary. Observations of galaxies at higher redshifts (i.e. at earlier times in the history of the universe) indicate that these galaxies began as blobby, highly irregular clumps of star formation (Fig. 1) quite dissimilar to their present-day descendants. Understanding the formation of these early, rapidly star-forming galaxies and their subsequent evolution into the local galaxy population is one of the most significant challenges to the current generation of astronomers in the effort to determine how, when, and why the galactic building blocks of the visible universe formed.

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Dave SilvaQ & A with Dave Silva

Dave Silva is the TMT Observatory Scientist, who wears many hats in the project. He recently talked to Warren Skidmore about the operations of TMT as well as the exciting science that TMT will make possible.

Download Interview
[22:18 min. 20MB MP3]

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TMT is supported in the United States by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the US National Science Foundation. Canadian funding is provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, the National Research Council of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund.

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