Oct 1

New Director of NSF’s National Optical-infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory

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Patrick McCarthyPatrick McCarthy

Vice President of the Giant Magellan Telescope project and Astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Patrick McCarthy, has been selected as the new Director of the National Science Foundation National Optical-infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NSF’s OIR Lab).

Patrick McCarthy is a world-recognized astronomical leader; his seminal work on galaxy evolution and the high redshift universe earned him wide scientific respect and recognition. Patrick McCarthy will bring significant skills in international collaboration and team building to the NSF’s OIR Lab. His expertise in incorporating all aspects of scientific research, from data acquisition to advanced data processing and data archiving, will benefit the science operations of the new organization. He has more than thirty years of history with the NSF’s OIR Lab facilities, both as a frequent observer and as a member of advisory and oversight committees. Patrick McCarthy’s experience with large projects, including developing instruments for Hubble, and his leadership roles in the Giant Magellan Telescope project will be helpful as the NSF’s OIR Lab charts its path forward for the coming decade and beyond.

Patrick McCarthy commented on his new position, “I am delighted to be part of NSF’s OIR Lab team in this historic endeavor to unify our national research facilities and strengthen our international partnerships in optical and infrared astronomy. A new world of opportunities is opening up for this generation and those that follow”.

Patrick McCarthy’s appointment was strongly endorsed by the NSF’s OIR Lab Director Search Committee led by Laura Ferrarese (National Research Council of Canada), as well as by the NSF’s OIR Lab Management Oversight Council (NMOC) and the AURA Board of Directors.

“We are thrilled to welcome Patrick McCarthy to AURA to lead NSF’s OIR Lab,” said AURA President Matt Mountain. “His extensive experience, expertise and leadership skills will provide this new organization with an incredible start, and with his team, establish a resilient foundation for the US’s ground-based astronomy program for decades to come.”

Patrick McCarthy will begin his 5-year appointment on 1 October 2019, and initially plans extensive travel to NSF’s OIR Lab sites to meet all staff. He will be based in Tucson, Arizona. AURA thanks Phil Puxley for providing truly excellent leadership as Interim Director.