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SPIE Professional April 2008

Telescope Builders Gather at SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation

The 2008 symposium is 23-28 June in Marseille, France.

logo for spie astronomical instrumentation conferenceSynergies between ground- and space-based technologies to explore the universe have resulted in spectacular discoveries regarding astronomical objects, and a continuing collaborative approach to research and funding in this area is a primary goal for organizers of this year’s SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Symposium.

To be held in Marseille, France, 23-28 June, the 2008 symposium will have two program tracks—one for technology advances and another for telescopes and systems—but attendees will focus on identifying the synergies among the various communities in this field.

The central scientific theme is quite broad, the origin and evolution of the universe. Nobel Laureate John Mather will give a keynote plenary talk entitled “From the Big Bang to the Nobel Prize and on to the James Webb Space Telescope.” A half-day plenary conference is being devoted to invited presentations on theoretical and observational studies of the early universe by some of the top researchers in this field.

photo of Mark Clampin“The study of the early universe is pushing both ground and space observational capabilities to the limit,” said Mark C. Clampin of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (at left), who is chairing the symposium with Alan F. Moorwood of the European Southern Observatory.

“It’s also driving the development of ever larger ground and space telescopes at all wavelengths.”

Scientific synergy has existed for many years between ground and space, with most examples arising naturally when addressing specific scientific questions.

photo of Alan MoorwoodHowever, “When it comes to developing complementary ground and space facilities, which often require a decade or more to bring online, collaboration is critical,” Moorwood notes (at left).

These synergies are also becoming increasingly important for developing enabling technologies, addressing the challenges of systems engineering, and managing large, long-term projects.

The US Decadal Survey is an example of this cooperation, and a similar European-wide Science and Infrastructure Vision is being developed by scientists and funding agencies.

For more information: http://spie.org/astronomical-instrumentation.xml.

DOI: 10.1117/2.4200804.19

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