The AUI Board of Trustees met in Pasadena, CA on March 1-2, 2018. Dr. Roscoe Giles, Board Chair, welcomed all assembled with a special welcome to new Board members, Dr. Meg Urry, Israel Munson Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Dr. Mike Witherell, Laboratory Director at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In his opening remarks, he stated, “This meeting comprises an opportunity to hear about the many changes coming to AUI under Dr. Cohen’s tenure.”
In the President’s Overview, Adam described AUI’s path toward the future and noted, “The vision is still evolving and the organization will continue to focus on radio astronomy as it explores opportunities to manage additional facilities of other types.”
The Board approved Luther Lau as the Treasurer, and received briefings on the changes being made in the financial and operational areas. The Board heard updates on the Observatory activities, discussed business development and growth opportunities at length, and were informed of new initiatives in STEM. The Board also engaged in an in-depth discussion about harassment, the mechanisms that are in place currently at both the Observatories and AUI Corporate, and suggestions for further improvement.
In addition to the formal proceedings, AUI Trustees, Dr. Anneila Sargent, Ira S. Bowen Professor of Astronomy & VP for Student Affairs and Mr. Dean Currie, VP for Business and Finance (Retired), both of Caltech, arranged a tour of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory campus. The AUI Board members and senior staff were able to experience first-hand what it is like to be in Mission control and observe real time
data from outer space. This was the same location of the Mars Curiosity rover, NASA’s Expedition 37 mission launch, which happened in November 2011. During the tour, AUI Board members and Sr. staff learned that in the beginning, Curiosity’s life expectancy was only 90 days upon landing. It has been over 5 years and NASA is gearing up to launch Curiosity 2.0 Mars Rover in 2020.
“Large government funded facilities like those at AUI and JPL unlock mysteries of the universe every day,” said AUI President, Adam Cohen of the visit. “It is inspiring to meet with colleagues, learn from one another, and visit other facilities that continue to push the envelope of science.”
This was Professor Anneila Sargent’s last meeting as an AUI Board member and we truly thank her for her service and contributions of expert knowledge in radio/millimeter/sub-millimeter astronomy, construction and management of facilities and in astronomy community relations during her Board tenure.
AUI’s reception the evening after the first day of meetings was held at the Athenaeum and we thank Mr. Dean Currie for helping in make this happen and Caltech President Tom Rosenbaum for his warm and gracious welcome. As usual, the networking with the community, food, and experience were both enlightening and enjoyable.
AUI’s next Board meeting will be held at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in June 2018 in Charlottesville, VA. The Board members will also have a retreat the day prior to the Board meeting where the Governance Committee will focus on recruitment of additional Board Members who will maintain the Board’s expertise across a range of areas and to increase expertise in business development.