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Center for
Adaptive Optics
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.

People and Profiles

Financial Analyst - David Ginn - Dave joined the Center in June 2001. He has a MBA and a BA in Political Science, both from from UC Irvine and is also a Russian linguist.
Dave has served in the military and worked in industry before joining the Center

Education Coordinator -Geri Philley. Geri joined the Center in October 2001. She has a bachelor's degree in mathematics, a master's degree in instructional technology, plus a broad range of experiences that are aligned with the specific educational objectives of the CfAO. Geri comes to the Center from the California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) where in addition to teaching, she researched community issues and in collaboration with community members developed appropriate solutions. She has been associated with the Technology Tutors, an undergraduate course designed to fulfill community service requirements at CSUMB, and through this has worked with K-12 teachers and librarians in the low income neighborhoods of Salinas, Castroville, and Watsonville.

Post Doctoral Researcher - Eric Steinbring Eric completed his PhD studies at the University of Victoria in Canada. He joined the Center in the Fall of 2000. His research is studying extremely faint, distant galaxies, and the AO at Keck has been used to obtain high-resolution near-infrared images of these objects. He is currently working on methods of characterizing and enhancing AO image quality, especially for laser guide stars. As part of the Center's outreach activities, he is building AO teaching demonstrators for vision-science and astronomy.

From the Director

The Center for Adaptive has just completed its second year as a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center. This was a year in which we reviewed and revised our research, implementing a change to theme oriented research programs. There is now an increased emphasis on technology relative to science, resulting in a subtle but significant redistribution of effort. Our four theme areas are:
Theme 1: Education and Human Resources
Theme 2: AO for Extremely Large Telescopes
Theme 3: Extreme Adaptive Optics (eXAO) Enabling Ultra-High-Contrast Astronomical Observations
Theme 4: Compact Vision Science Instrumentation for Clinical and Scientific Use

While some areas of research were negatively impacted, we believe that in the longer term, the Center will be better positioned to maximize its impact on the field of Adaptive Optics. Our two external committees - the Program Advisory Committee and the External Advisory Board, have endorsed the new theme approach, as did the NSF Site Visit Committee. We are now working hard to implement our collective vision for the Center.

In addition to the changes in our research agenda, we have aligned our Educational activities closely to the Center's research. The Center's "Stars, Sight and Science" summer program for talented High School students offered through the University of California Santa Cruz's COSMOS program is one such example. The enthusiastic participation of post docs and grad students as instructors played a major role in its success.

While all Center researchers are expected to participate in Educational activities, our post docs and graduate students are in the unusual position of partaking as BOTH contributors and beneficiaries. The Center sponsored a Professional Development workshop in Kona Hawaii, that was directed at helping graduate students and post docs improve their teaching skills and also their background knowledge in Adaptive Optics - the latter by visiting the Observatories on Mauna Kea. The success of the "Stars, Sights and Science"program was to a significant measure the result of the application by the instructors of the lessons learned at Kona.

Our Year 3 has started with a gathering of all our researchers and educational experts for a Fall Science Retreat in Monterey. The meeting was held in an informal setting and attendees were encouraged to actively participate in discussions.

In summation, last year was one of transition from a goal to a theme mode for managing our research. We have made a good start to year 3 and look forward to a fruitful and rewarding year for the Center.

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