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Center for
Adaptive Optics
Newsletter
Volume 2

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In this Volume:

Sharper Image with Adaptive Optics

Low Cost Wavefront Correctors for Vision Science Adaptive Optics

Creating and Detecting Rayleigh Laser Guide Stars

People and Profiles

From the Director

Year 2 - NSF Site Visit a week after Sept 11

First Light for Keck Laser Guide Star

Astronomers Observe Distant Galaxies More Clearly

Education and Human Resource Activities

Education and Human Resources Notices

Upcoming AO Related Conferences

CfAO visits the USAF's Advanced Electro-Optical System site at Maui and Gemini Observatory – January 2002.


Education and Human Resource Activities

There has been considerable restructuring of the CfAO's Education outreach programs in this past year. The changes have aligned the educational programs more closely with the Center's research activities and increased focus on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented sectors of the population in the disciplines of science and engineering. The activity focus is on students ranging from high school level to the graduate level.

The programs offered in Year Two related directly to the stated objectives. These included the Stars, Sight and Science Summer Program, the ALU LIKE Traineeship program and the Annual Professional Development Conference.

The Center's "Stars, Sight and Science" summer program for talented high school students was offered in collaboration with the University of California Santa Cruz's California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) program. The four-week summer immersion experience included three coordinated courses on vision science, astronomy and science communication developed by the CfAO. High school students were recruited by the CfAO from three area high schools — Watsonville, Overfelt and North Salinas high schools — all of which have large underrepresented student populations. Cynthia Mendoza, from Watsonville High School, was awarded a scholarship of $1000 to attend any university; $2000 to attend an institution within the University of California system and $4000 if she attends the University of California Santa Cruz. The scholarship was for academic achievement, attitude and overall excellence during the summer session. CfAO faculty, graduate students, research scientists, and postdocs played a pivotal role as instructors and mentors to the high school students and their enthusiastic participation contributed much to the success of the program. Watsonville High science teacher Burnne Yew was part of the instructional team, assisting the CfAO instructors in delivering material that was engaging and appropriate for high school students.

The island of Hawaii is home to many of the world's largest observatories on Mauna Kea. Unfortunately these employ few Native Hawaiians in technical or professional roles as there is a lack of training facilities on the islands. In an effort to overcome this, the CfAO is cooperating with educational establishments in Hawaii to identify and develop new programs that will increase the participation of Native Hawaiians in CfAO related research and technology. As part of this effort the CfAO is collaborating with the ALU LIKE organization and with LLNL to provide traineeships on the mainland for native Hawaiian Community College and recent high school graduates. See Issue 1 of this newsletter for more details.

Last year the CfAO sponsored the first of its annual Professional Development Conference series for graduate students and postdocs. This provided 25 CfAO graduate students and postdoctoral researchers an opportunity for experience in inquiry-based teaching, for developing interdisciplinary ties, and to establish contacts for future collaborations. The conference was held on the Big Island of Hawaii and attendees visited the Gemini and Keck observatories on Mauna Kea. Attendees spent an intensive two days in a workshop on inquiry-based learning developed and delivered by Doris Ash (Education Dept., UC Santa Cruz) and Barry Kluger-Bell (Exploratorium), and presented non-technical posters to local high school teachers. The subsequent evaluation of the conference conducted by Dr. Barbara Goza (Director, Research and Evaluation, Educational Partnership Center, UCSC) indicated that the initial participant responses were extremely positive. The second annual conference will be held in Maui, May 15-18, 2002.

A Mini-Grant Project was launched Year 2, and gained momentum at the Kona Conference. Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers were invited to submit one-page proposals outlining a visit to a collaborating CfAO site. These visits are designed for students to gain experience in a discipline different to their own, for example astronomers visiting vision science sites, or projects in education. Mini-grants were awarded to UCSC graduate student Lynne Raschke to visit the University of Rochester and Peter Kurczynski, a postdoctoral researcher at Bell Labs.

The Second Annual Summer School on Adaptive Optics held in July 2001 provided all professionals interested in adaptive optics a six-day workshop aimed at both astronomy and vision science researchers. Of the approximate 96 people that attended the workshop, eighty percent were CfAO graduate students and post docs. The major focus of the workshop was on MEMS technology and image processing techniques. Computer lab sessions were held to introduce part-icipants to the programs used for image enhance-ment.

The CfAO was represented and participated extensively in the SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) con-ference in 2001. This conference combines science, professional development and culture. It attracts approx-imately 2000 participants each year, most of whom are underrepresented undergraduates. CfAO Associate Director, Claire Max chaired a scientific symposium on adaptive optics. Panel members included Austin Roorda (University of Houston), and Gabriella Canalizo (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory). The CfAO sponsored a booth to provide an extended opportunity for students to learn about the CfAO. Fernando Romero (University of Houston), Shuleen Chau-Martin (UC Berkeley), and Lisa Hunter (UC Santa Cruz) joined the CfAO speakers at the booth and other conference activities. Three CfAO undergraduate interns were awarded full travel awards and were selected to present posters. They included Carmen Kunz and Tammi Floyd, who last summer completed projects at UCO Lick Observatory Shops, at UC Santa Cruz.

In Year Three, EHR will further refine educational projects. The activities will focus on inquiry-based teaching, clustered mentoring, and the development of instructional materials that bring CfAO research into the classroom and public arena.

Education and Human Resources Notices

CfAO Undergraduate Internships
The CfAO will cover the costs of 18 undergraduate students this summer with a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) supplement provided by the NSF.
We need:
- CfAO people/places to host students (CfAO covers all costs)
- Underrepresented student applicants (emphasis is on community college students)
For information contact Geri Philley.

CfAO to host 2nd Annual NSF Research Center Education Workshop
This workshop brings together education directors from Science and Technology Centers (STC’s), Engineering Research Centers (ERC’s), and Materials Research and Science Engineering Centers (MRSEC’s). Tentative dates: October 26-28, 2002.
For information contact Lisa Hunter.

Mini-Grants
CfAO graduate students and postdocs are invited to apply for Mini-Grants. Use this opportunity to develop new skills, get exposure to new disciplines, and develop new collaborations. Interested in policy and management? Apply to attend the CfAO External Advisory Board meeting or other events…
For information contact Lisa Hunter.

Professional Development Conference
The date and place for the 2002 Professional Development Conference has been set: May 15-18, Maui, Hawaii. This conference is for CfAO graduate students and postdocs and will focus on developing inquiry-based educational activities and exploring professional opportunities in Hawaii. Details and registration will be posted on the web in February.
For information contact Lisa Hunter.

2002 Summer School for AO - Aug 4-9 2002
The 3rd annual Summer School on AO will be held on the campus of the University of California in Santa Cruz. The school will include system components, and general adaptive optics concepts relevant to both astronomy and vision science. The course level will be appropriate for graduate students, postdocs, and researchers who are not experts in the field.
Cost of Attendance:
Graduate students and Post-docs : $200 Conference fee includes all Board and Lodging. US based students are also eligible for travel support within designated limits.
All Others: Conference fee $200; Board and Lodging (includes 3 meals a day) $100 per night (single occupancy), $80 per night (double occupancy).
For Information contact Paula Towle.

Contact Information:
Lisa Hunter - Email: hunter@ucolick. Phone: 831-459-2416
Geri Philley - Email: geri@ucolick.org Phone: 831-459-4688
Paula Towle - Email cfao@ucolock org. Phone: 831-459-5592
More information on Year Three CfAO projects may be obtained at the web site.


 
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