Matt Mountain is the Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, taking the reins on September 1, 2005. Matt was previously the Director of the Gemini Observatory, which is based in Hilo, Hawaii. He is also the Telescope Scientist for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a member of the Webb Science Working Group, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford (UK).
Matt’s received a B.S. in physics in 1978 and a Ph.D. in astronomy in 1983—both from the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London University — where he also held a Research Fellowship before joining the staff at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh. During his seven years in Edinburgh, he worked on observations of star formation processes and instrumentation for infrared astronomy, which culminated in the successful commissioning of a new infrared spectrometer for the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope in Hawaii.
In 1992, Matt became Project Scientist for the Gemini 8-meter Telescopes Project and went on to become Project Director in 1994. In 1998 he moved to the “big island” of Hawaii, with responsibility for the creation of the Gemini Observatory.
Matt’s principle research interests have included star formation in galaxies (including our own), advanced infrared instrumentation, and the capabilities of advanced telescopes.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Professor Jay Gallagher mainly grew up in the suburbs of New York City during the peak of the space race, when thoughts about space and astronomy were hard to avoid. Having been interested in the stars by his grandmother and by really seeing the sky during a winter he spent in Manchester, Vermont, he was primed to become seriously involved in astronomy. He finally succumbed as an undergraduate at Princeton University. While a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is now a member of the Astronomy faculty, Prof. Gallagher did a Ph.D. thesis based on observations of an exploding star obtained with the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory A-2, the first robotic ultraviolet space astronomy observatory. He later became interested in galaxies. In addition to his astronomy, he is trying with less success to add to his family's gardening skills, a task made more challenging by Wisconsin's famous "four season" climate.
Most of Prof. Gallagher's astronomical work is based on observations made with telescopes on Earth and in space. His research developed while he held positions at several different places, most notably the Universities of Minnesota and Illinois and at the Lowell Observatory, before coming back to Madison. Currently he is working on a variety of research projects, including studies of the history of star formation in nearby galaxies using the Hubble Space Telescope and the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope on Kitt Peak. He is a member of the science team responsible for the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 in the Hubble Space Telescope, and is involved in the International Gemini 8-m Telescopes project that is building advanced technology telescopes on Hawaii and in Chile.
National Science Foundation
Phil Puxley is a Program Director for Facilities at the National Science Foundation. Until 2006 he was Associate Director and Head of Gemini Observatory's 8m optical-infrared telescope in Chile. His research interests include massive star formation in galaxies, the stellar mass function and extrasolar planets.
This view of the Gemini South Telescope shows the entire mountaintop facility on Cerro Pachon in Chile. The telescope is located at an elevation of 8900 feet. Snow can be seen on the mountain as well as on the distant peaks.