Dr. Miguel Roth receives Order of Bernardo O’Higgins from Chilean Foreign Affairs Ministry

headshot - Miguel Roth

Dr. Miguel Roth.

GMTO is delighted to announce that the Chilean Foreign Affairs Ministry has awarded the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins to Dr. Miguel Roth Fuchs, the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMTO) Representative in Chile, at a ceremony in Santiago today.

The Order of Bernardo O’Higgins is the highest civilian honor awarded to non-Chilean citizens. This award was established in 1956 and is named after one of the founders of the Chilean Republic, general Bernardo O’Higgins. It recognizes achievements in the field of arts, sciences, education, industry, trade, humanitarian and social cooperation.

In the presence of government officials and representatives of the diplomatic corps, Dr. Roth will be granted this decoration in recognition of his contribution to the development of astronomy in Chile, and for inspiring appreciation and knowledge of astronomy among students and people of all ages.

“Dr. Miguel Roth, along with his outstanding and prolific scientific career in Chile and abroad, has distinguished himself by his permanent support and promotion of science education programs and the promotion of this discipline among young people. At the same time, he has led initiatives, together with the government and regional authorities, to protect the dark skies of northern Chile and thus ensure the continuity of this unique Natural Laboratory, which we have in our country, “said Ambassador Gabriel Rodríguez, Director of Energy, Science and Technology (DECYTI) of the Chilean Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Dr. Roth earned his doctorate in Physics from the University of Chile. His interest in scientific instrumentation led him to astronomy. The focus of his work has been observational astronomy, primarily in the infrared and he has studied star formation in high and low mass objects, and the early evolution of stars and planetary nebula. In recent years, he took part in observational campaigns for the Carnegie Supernova Project.

From 1990 through 2014, Dr. Roth was the Director of Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory (LCO), located in northern Chile. He led LCO through the transition from a remote outpost supporting a small and expert user community into a world-leading observatory site hosting the twin 6.5m Magellan telescopes and the future 25m Giant Magellan Telescope. Dr. Roth worked closely with the Chilean authorities, local universities, and the Chilean astronomical community to ensure that astronomers in Chile have access to state-of-the-art research tools at the international observatories, particularly Las Campanas. He also brought astronomy to small cities and villages in north-central Chile by setting up small observatories, planetariums and a traveling astronomy exhibit.

In recent years Dr. Roth has been the Legal Representative for GMTO in Chile. He structured an agreement between GMTO and Chile that provides for access to observing time on the GMT by astronomers in Chile. He has also worked tirelessly with the government, industry, and the other international observatories to ensure that the clear skies of Chile remain dark at night, preserving one of Chile’s greatest natural treasures.

“Miguel is a force in the Chilean astronomical community, and this exceptional award recognizes his unique contributions to astronomy in Chile,” said Dr. Robert N. Shelton, President of GMTO. “Miguel is GMTO’s face in Latin America and we are fortunate to have him as our representative and spokesperson in Chile.”

Public outreach and connections with the community have been always a major activity in Dr. Roth’s years in Chile, starting with the Andes-Carnegie Summer School for young science students, to the more recent activities linked to an astronomy mobile laboratory and inclusive experiences.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Miguel Roth for this well-deserved recognition!

Dr. Miguel Roth being presented with the award by Embajador Isauro Torres, Secretario General de Política Exterior Subrrogante who was leading the ceremony

Dr. Miguel Roth with a portrait of Bernardo O’Higgins.