Edward Moses Appointed to Lead Giant Magellan Telescope Project
Thursday, September 4, 2014
GMT Feature

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 their organization. Dr. Moses, former Principal Associate Director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will lead the organization responsible for the development of the billion-dollar, 25-meter Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT).

The GMT will be larger than any telescope in existence today and will be built by a major international collaboration with partner institutions in the United States, Australia, Korea, and Brazil. It will be used to discover and characterize planets around other stars (including the search for telltale signs of life), to probe the formation of stars and galaxies shortly after the Big Bang, to measure the masses of black holes, and to explore fundamental issues in cosmology and physics, including dark matter and dark energy. The giant telescope is expected to come on line at Las Campanas Observatory in the Chilean Andes early in the next decade.

"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.

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 and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and belongs to many other prestigious scientific organizations. At Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, he led the development of the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the largest optical and laser project ever constructed. 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.

"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."

The GMT will use seven of the largest optical mirrors ever made to form a single telescope 25.4 meters (or about 80 feet) in diameter with nearly a factor of 10 increase in light-gathering capability compared to any existing telescope. Advanced optical technologies using powerful lasers will be used to produce images of distant celestial objects with clarity ten times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope. More than one hundred engineers and scientists at the GMT offices and the partner institutions are engaged in the development of the telescope and planning for its use.