Letter from the Director: June 2017

By: John Mulchaey, Crawford H. Greenewalt Chair and Director


Star trails above the thirty millimeter telescope (TMMT) at LCO
Star trails above the thirty millimeter telescope (TMMT) at Las Campanas Observatory. Photo by Rachael Beaton.
Below: Carnegie-Princeton Fellow Eduardo Bañados and Nashman Fellow Stephanie Tonnesen.
Dear Friends of Carnegie Observatories, 
This issue marks our fourth edition of our digital newsletter. I hope you are finding them an informative way to keep up with the latest work going on at The Observatories. 
In this issue, we are starting a new feature called "Postdoc Spotlight." Our postdoctoral program is a great source of pride for me and everyone else at The Observatories. For many astronomers, their postdoc years are among the finest of their careers. It is as a postdoc that most of us have the first chance to do independent research. This is especially true for postdocs at The Observatories, who not only have complete freedom in their research endeavors, but also have access to our amazing array of facilities. More than half of the time on our telescopes in Chile currently goes to postdocs.
The subject of our first postdoc spotlight is Stephanie Tonnesen. Stephanie is our first Alvin E. Nashman Fellow. This is a new fellowship dedicated to theoretical astrophysics (made possible by a generous gift from Alvin and Honey Nashman). While The Observatories has been a leader in observational astronomy since 1904, theoretical astrophysics is a relatively new emphasis here. Started just a decade ago, our theory group is already one of the most vibrant and dynamic theory groups in the world. Stephanie, like our other theorists, uses simulations to produce mock datasets that can be directly compared to observations taken with telescopes. Her work is providing important new insight in to how galaxies evolve in time.
am also happy to announce that Carnegie-Princeton fellow Eduardo Bañados is the first recipient of the Thacher Research Fund. This new annual award supports independent research by a Carnegie postdoc in the field of astronomy. The award is possible because of a gift from Michael W. Thacher and Rhonda L. Rundle. Eduardo was given the 2017 award for his original work in detecting the highest redshift quasars. Eduardo had a recent press release about fast-growing galaxies in the early Universe, and you will be hearing much more about his exciting research in the months ahead.

Stephanie and Eduardo are just two of the approximately 20 postdocs currently working on astronomy at the Carnegie Observatories. I look forward to sharing the work of many more of these great young scientists in future editions of the newsletter. 
Dr. John Mulchaey
Crawford H. Greenewalt Chair and Director
Carnegie Observatories