Keynote: ALMA, Chile, and the new challenges facing astronomy at the beginning of the 21st Century

Date

May 28, 2014

Overview

Chair: Jaime Puente, Microsoft Research Speaker: Eduardo Hardy, Representative in Chile, Associated Universities Inc., National Radio Astronomy Observatory, ALMA, CCAT

Our vision of the Universe has changed radically over the last few years. New transformational instruments, such as ALMA, are making possible the exploration of this new Universe while Chile is fast becoming the center of the astronomy world with most new astronomy projects already located or to be located there.

This presentation will briefly trace the evolution of astronomy and will provide a description of the main important recent science issues for which these new instruments are being built, with emphasis on the conceptual challenges facing today’s astrophysicist, including the study of star formation, normal and dark matter, dark energy, inflation, etc. I will also describe some technical observational challenges, including the handling of the immense output of data coming out of ALMA and other instruments as well as the use of computational visualizations and machine learning techniques. Is it true that “investing in science pays off”?

Speakers

Eduardo Hardy

Dr. Eduardo Hardy was born in Argentina, grew up in Chile and received his post-graduate education in the US where he was a Carnegie Fellow. He spent most of his academic career in Canada where for twenty-one years he was a professor of astrophysics at Université Laval, in Québec city. While in Canada he was involved in the planning and operation of the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope on Mauna Kea and the planning by Canada of the Gemini telescopes located on Mauna Kea and on Cerro Pachón, Chile. He returned to Chile 16 years ago to help set up the ALMA project for North America and presently occupies the positions of North America representative in ALMA (Associated Universities Inc.) and Chile director of the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the organization responsible for the North America side of the ALMA construction and operation.

Hardy’s science interests range from Cosmology to the study of Stellar Populations in galaxies and he is credited, together with Allan Sandage, for the discovery of “galactic “cannibalisms” in cluster galaxies. He is also an adjoint professor at the Astronomy Dept. of the University of Chile.