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Walterbos elected to chair Astrophysical Research Consortium board

Rene Walterbos, head of the astronomy department at New Mexico State University, has been elected to a three-year term as chairman of the board of governors of the Astrophysical Research Consortium.



Rene Walterbos, head of the astronomy department at New Mexico State University, with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey telescope behind him. (NMSU photo by Michael Kiernan)

The ARC is a group of seven research institutions that owns and operates the Apache Point Observatory in the Sacramento Mountains near Cloudcroft. The 14-member board of governors -- two representatives from each institution -- sets budgets, secures funding for projects and plans future activities for the observatory.

Apache Point, which is managed by NMSU for the consortium, "is one of the most important ground-based observing sites in the world," said Rene Casillas, dean of the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences and the other NMSU representative on the board. The observatory's facilities include the 3.5-meter ARC telescope and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey 2.5-meter telescope.

The SDSS, a five-year project to create a detailed three- dimensional map of much of the universe, "is one of the most significant projects in the physical sciences today, and perhaps one of the most important astronomical projects ever undertaken," Casillas said.

Walterbos said the board of governors' major short-term goals are to secure the success of the SDSS and instrumentation improvements to the 3.5-meter telescope. "Long term, in the coming three years we need to think about the future role of the observatory and start planning for possible new projects that can be done at APO," he said.

Walterbos, whose term begins Jan. 1, replaces Tim Heckman of Johns Hopkins University as chairman of the board. Besides NMSU and Johns Hopkins, the ARC consists of the University of Chicago, Princeton University, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the University of Washington and Washington State University.

Photo is available at http://kiernan.nmsu.edu/newsphoto/walterbos.rene.jpg.
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CUTLINE: Rene Walterbos, head of the astronomy department at New Mexico State University, with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey telescope behind him. (NMSU photo by Michael Kiernan)

Karl Hill
Dec. 4, 2000