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Professor Tim de Zeeuw Takes Up Duty as New ESO Director General

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We’re in an extremely exciting time for astronomy, and I think this is understood worldwide and not just by astronomers. The technology is now available to look not only at the farthest objects in the Universe where the light left long, long ago, so that we can see how the whole thing evolved and developed, but we can even detect signatures of planets around other stars and that answers an age-old question which really is one of the fundamental questions in all of science, and it really excites the general public. ESO has a very important role in the context of European and worldwide astronomy because it’s one of the leading organisations indeed for ground-based astronomy. You might even say it is the pre-eminent organisation, and therefore we have both the opportunity and the responsibility to lead the further developments in astronomy. I see three main goals for ESO in the coming years. The first one is to get the best possible science out of the VLT, the interferometer, and the survey telescopes, all of them on Paranal. The second is to build ALMA, the new observatory at 5,000 metres in the high Andes, together with the North American and East Asian partners and we need to deliver this on budget and on time and indeed prepare the European astronomers for leading the science. The third main goal for ESO in the coming years is to design a world leading Extremely Large Telescope, which may have a main mirror with a diameter larger than 40 metres, and will enable wonderful science. And of course we don’t only want to design it, we also then want to construct it. As to La Silla, it is of course the cornerstone of ESO’s existence in Chile and it holds some wonderful telescopes, including the one that is discovering many exoplanets. And I see no reason why this couldn’t continue for many years into the future. And on top of that, La Silla is one of the potential sites for the future ELT. I took up this position because ESO is the most exciting astronomy organisation in the world, with high quality staff and long-term and stable support by the member countries. It will be a pleasure and a privilege to come and work here. In the first days in office I will further familiarise myself with the organisation but then I will very quickly travel to Chile. After all, the crown jewels of ESO are in Chile and it’s very important that I meet not only the ESO staff in Chile, but also the Chilean astronomers and authorities.

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Duration: 2 minutes and 53 seconds
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Language: English
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Views: 11
Posted by: esoastronomy on Mar 29, 2017

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