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Günther Hasinger

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From the Director

Dear Friends of the Institute for Astronomy,

It is a great pleasure to write my first contribution to this page, following the tradition started by Rolf Kudritzki. IfA is one of the premier astronomy institutes in the world, and I believe it will have a great future. In particular, it is well positioned to assume a leadership role in the development of the next generation of the world’s most powerful ground-based telescopes because the Thirty Meter Telescope, the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, and Pan-STARRS are all slated for Hawai`i. I am very pleased that this issue contains articles about these exciting new projects and several other IfA activities.

I became IfA director in January, but until July it is only a part-time appointment because I must smoothly wind down my responsibilities as a director at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics. This interim period is difficult for me—my heart and my brain are already fully engaged with IfA, but my time is rather limited. The large time difference, the cost in time and money of traveling between Europe and the United States, and the preparations for our move to Hawai`i place a substantial burden on efficiency. I am therefore particularly grateful to Associate Director Bob McLaren and the Director’s Office, and also the many committees working so efficiently at IfA, for their help and patience during this difficult period. Starting in July, my wife Barbara and I will be in Hawai`i for good, and we are very much looking forward to it.

After the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, Barbara and I followed the tsunami warnings for Hawai`i by the minute and would have loved to be with you, especially those sheltering at IfA. Fortunately, the damage in Hawai`i was relatively minor. However, I am very concerned about our colleagues, and all the people, in Japan. As we continue to follow developments in Japan and their potential consequences for our islands, let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Günther Hasinger, IfA Director



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