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New Gemini Director Is IfA Alumnus

Douglas Simons
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 2005.

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.