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Photo by Rainer Arlt/AIP, Astronomischen Gesellschaft 2009, Potsdam

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From the Director

Dear Friends of the Institute for Astronomy,

2009, the International Year of Astronomy, is almost over, and what a year it has been! This is the year that we found out Hawaii will have the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope on Haleakala, and the 2015 meeting of the International Astronomical Union General Assembly in Honolulu. Also, IfA received a five-year, $2.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support the Akamai Workforce Initiative, which prepares Hawaii college students for available science and technology jobs, especially jobs related to astronomy, remote sensing, and instrumentation. It will ensure that well-paying technology jobs will go to Hawaii residents rather than imported talent.

Because of IYA 2009, the IfA, with other astronomy organizations in Hawaii, redoubled its efforts to reach out to the community with lectures and a variety of other fun and educational events. On Oahu, our librarian Kathleen Robertson led the effort to place an astronomy exhibit and lecture series in UH's Hamilton Library. On the Big Island, MKOOC--the Mauna Kea Observatories Outreach Committee--arranged star parties, the Galileo Block Party, and more than one lecture series. On Maui, the Maikalani Community Lecture Series continued to attract an audience.

In 2009, IfA faculty and students received many important prizes that acknowledged the importance of our work to science, the state, and the nation. But perhaps the ones with the greatest future importance were the science fair awards won by middle and high school students who had participated in our HI STAR (Hawaii Student/Teacher Astronomy Research) summer program and continued to work with IfA scientists throughout the school year to expand their projects. These students may become the astronomers of the future.

We wish you a safe holiday season and a happy new year.

Rolf-Peter Kudritzki
Director, Institute for Astronomy


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