New Gemini Director Is IfA Alumnus
|Photo courtesy of Gemini Observatory.
Douglas A. Simons, who received his PhD from UH in 1991, became the director
of Gemini Observatory on June 1. Simons succeeded Jean-René Roy,
who had been the acting director after Gemini's former director, Matt Mountain,
took the directorship of the Space Telescope Science Institute in September
The Gemini Observatory consists of twin 8-meter optical/infrared telescopes,
the Frederick C. Gillett Gemini North Telescope on Hawaii's Mauna Kea and
the Gemini South telescope in the Chilean Andes. The observatory's international
headquarters is in University Park in Hilo.
At IfA, Simons wrote a dissertation entitled, "A Near-Infrared Search
for Brown Dwarfs in the Pleiades." After receiving his PhD, Simons
worked for the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope as a resident astronomer.
In 1994, he moved to Gemini Observatory, where he served as Gemini's associate
director for development, overseeing the observatory's world-class instrument
program. Simons played a leading role in steering the "Aspen Process" that
defined the future generation of Gemini instruments and in implementing
this ambitious instrumentation program.
"It's an enormous pleasure, after participating in the construction
of the Gemini 8-meter telescopes, to now guide the Gemini Observatory into
its next great phase—a mission of scientific discovery. Steering
the flagship of the fleet in ground-based infrared astronomy is truly the
opportunity of a lifetime," said Simons.
Simons and his wife Judy have three children. He enjoys woodworking projects
and bird hunting.