Press and News

Fall 2014

Edward Moses appointed as GMTO President

Ed Moses, GMTO President. Photo by Damien J. Jemison.

Ed Moses, GMTO President. Photo by Damien J. Jemison.

The Board of Directors of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization is pleased to announce the appointment of Edward I. Moses, Ph.D., as President of GMTO.

Formerly the Principal Associate Director (PAD) of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Moses led the development of the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the largest optical and laser project ever constructed, among other accomplishments. The NIF uses high-power lasers to focus energy at the level needed to initiate the conversion of hydrogen to helium in fusion reactions similar to those occurring in the center of the Sun and other stars.

“Ed has unique skills, knowledge, and experience to lead the design, construction, and commissioning of the GMT,” said Dr. Wendy Freedman, chair of the GMTO Board.

In a press release issued by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Director Bill Goldstein said, “Ed is ideally positioned and qualified for this scientific leadership role. He is an expert in laser science, optical systems, technology development, systems engineering, and project leadership and management.”

Dr. Moses received his B.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Cornell University. He holds patents in laser technology, computational physics, and fusion energy systems. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and belongs to several other prestigious scientific organizations.

Moses joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1980 and previously served as program leader for Isotope Separation and Material Processing, Deputy AD for Lasers, and Assistant AD for program development in the Physics and Space Technology Department, where he led the development of the Peregrine Cancer Treatment Program. From 1990-1995, he was a founding partner of Advanced Technology Applications, which supported clients in proposing and developing high-tech projects.

“I look forward to applying my experience in large science and cutting-edge technology projects to the leadership role in the GMTO. The project has a great team of scientists and engineers in a powerful collaboration of world-leading institutions,” said Moses. “This is a tremendous opportunity for me to take part in a revolutionary telescope project and scientific community that will change the nature of our understanding of the cosmos.”

Along with his position at GMTO, Moses was also appointed as Senior Scientist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

Dr. Edward “Rocky” Kolb, Dean of Physical Sciences at the University of Chicago and GMTO Board member, said, “Ed Moses is a highly respected leader in the world of experimental physics and energy research. He brings a unique set of skills and experience to the GMT organization as we transition from the design phase to construction.”

“The appointment of such an eminent and experienced leader as Ed Moses to the position of President of GMTO marks a key milestone in the development of the GMT,” said Dr. Matthew Colless, vice-chair of the GMTO Board. “This brings us one giant step closer to first light.”

The Giant Magellan Telescope Project gets a new partner

Universidade de São Paulo joins the GMT consortium.

Universidade de São Paulo joins the GMT consortium.

The consortium of universities and research institutes involved in the Giant Magellan Telescope project recently got a new partner: Universidade de São Paulo. The Executive Board of the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) in Brazil announced that it has approved a $40 million contribution to the Giant Magellan Telescope project.

Brazilian participation in the GMT project is welcome news. The country has a strong and growing record of astronomy excellence, with strengths in chemical evolution of galaxies and stellar atmospheres. São Paulo’s partnership also brings the project closer to being fully funded.

“The GMT community enthusiastically welcomes our colleagues from Brazil, and looks forward to partnering with Brazilian astronomers, engineers, and industrial firms as we build the GMT,” said Dr. Wendy Freedman, Chair of the Board of Directors for the GMT Project in a press release.

Professor Joao Steiner, an astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics, and Atmospheric Sciences of the University of São Paulo said, “joining the GMT project will help ensure that Brazilian astronomers remain at the forefront of research for decades to come.”

FAPESP is a public foundation in the State of São Paulo with the mission to support research projects in higher education and research institutions in all fields of knowledge. Its investment enables Universidade de São Paulo to become a GMT partner and may help to give access to other universities and research institutes throughout the entire country of Brazil as the Foundation works with other Brazilian government agencies.

“Discussions between the Foundation and the Ministry of Science and Technology of Brazil are well advanced to share [the contribution] costs and allow astronomers from all states of Brazil to have access to the telescope,” said Dr. Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, Scientific Director of FAPESP.

São Paulo’s inclusion grows the international consortium of research institutes to eleven partners, including Astronomy Australia Ltd., Australian National University, Carnegie Institution for Science, Harvard University, Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, Smithsonian Institution, Texas A&M University, University of Arizona, University of Chicago, and The University of Texas at Austin.

Second Annual GMT Community Science Meeting

Meeting poster designed by Petrula Vrontikis.

Meeting Poster designed by Petrula Vrontikis.

The Second Annual GMT Community Science meeting, “Transient Phenomena in Astronomy and Astrophysics,” took place October 6 – 8, 2014 at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D. C.

The next generation of sky surveys and time-domain experiments will soon open a new window on transient phenomena in the Universe. “Transient Phenomena in Astronomy and Astrophysics” brought together experts from around the world to discuss the state of the field and our understanding of objects identified through their explosive variability. Topics included gamma-ray bursts as probes of the early universe, supernova explosions, the discovery potential of large-scale optical and radio time domain surveys, and electromagnetic follow-up of gravitational wave sources. More than 130 scientists attended the meeting, and the presentations were excellent.

GMTO and its partners host the community science meetings to encourage thoughtful discussions on a wide range of topics covering astronomy and astrophysics. These discussions include areas that GMT astronomers will focus on once the telescope is on line. They also reach beyond the consortium to engage the broader astronomical community and to encourage collaboration.

Edo Berger, of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, served as chair of the scientific organizing committee (SOC) for this year’s conference. Robert Kirshner gave a public lecture entitled “Exploding Stars and the Accelerating Universe.”

For a complete list of SOC members and speakers, please visit