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Rolf-Peter Kudritzki

Director
Institute for Astronomy


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From the Director

Dear Friends of Hawaii Astronomy,

How can one measure the success and the international standing of an academic program? A good method is to invite a group of independent outside experts to review the program in detail. The experts look at the scientific productivity, the recent publications, the number of citations of these publications by other researchers, the extramural funding, the invitations to faculty to give presentations at international conferences, and faculty memberships on important national and international committees. They also look at the teaching program–the curricula offered, the number of students taught, how many students receive a degree, and the later career development of its graduates. The experts make an onsite visit and meet with staff, faculty, and students for detailed interviews and discussions, and they inspect the program's facilities. At the end of their review, they write a report in which they assess the strengths and weaknesses of the program.

Such an external review is a very healthy process. In addition to an independent evaluation of success, it provides an opportunity for the University and the program to reassess priorities and resources. Recently, the IfA went through such an external evaluation. The review committee consisted of a member of the U.S. Academy of Sciences, a former president of the American Astronomical Society, and a chair of a major astronomy department at a mainland university.

The results were very encouraging. The report of the external review committee states very clearly that the IfA is one of the very top astronomy programs in the world and that it plays in the same league as those of leading mainland and European universities. It very strongly endorses the IfA's initiatives to develop new telescope and instrumentation technology. It also recognizes the enormous potential of astronomy on the neighbor islands. It advocates strong support for IfA plans to expand this technology initiative to its facilities on Maui and the Big Island, and in this way, to connect with the development of UH campuses at Hilo and Kahului. In simple words, the report concludes that the IfA, as the most visible of the University of Hawaii's scientific research programs, is on the right track and has tremendous possibilities for future development. We will build on this important assessment and will continue to work with the University and the communities to maintain a world-class program.

Visiting Mauna Kea

The Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station at Hale Pohaku (9,300-foot level of Mauna Kea) is open weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., and 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

The Center hosts public stargazing nightly. Mauna Kea summit tours are available on Saturdays and Sundays. In advance of any visit to Mauna Kea, please call (808) 961-2180 or go to the Web site: http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/vis/

 

 
Highlights

MACS: The Most Massive Cluster of Galaxies in the Universe
IfA Hosts International Brown Dwarf Symposium

Upcoming Events

Center for Star and Planet Formation meetings every Thursday from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the IfA-Manoa Auditorium with video link to IfA-Hilo, room M131. Those wishing to be on the e-mail list should contact Dr. Bo Reipurth at reipurth@ifa.hawaii.edu

More Events>>