Joe Glover approaches the podium at the inauguration of the Gran Telescopio Canarias

Above: Joe Glover approaches the podium at the inauguration of the Gran Telescopio Canarias.

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Inauguration of the Gran Telescopio Canarias

Speech by Provost Joe Glover

“The University of Florida’s partnership in the GTC reflects our continuing quest for international opportunities in world-class research projects. In 2001, we had opportunities to join other large telescopes, but we chose to join the GTC for several reasons. It offered one of the world’s most advanced telescopes at one of the world’’s best astronomical sites. While we prize the observing time this affords us to peer into he universe, we realize you offer much more than that.

This partnership offers unparalleled research and educational opportunities for our faculty and students in an international setting that complements the international mission of our university.

Through our GTC partnership, nine students from Spain have joined our astronomy program, and two have completed their doctoral degrees. We have also given two postdoctoral fellowships to talented young scientists from Spain. These young professionals will strengthen our partnership into a long term friendship rich in collaborations and stimulating interactions.

A telescope has two equally important parts. The large mirror gathers the light. We congratulate the director of the GTC, Pedro Alvarez, and his team of engineers and scientists for the amazing engineering feat that is this mirror. But the dance of photons across the heavens must be analyzed by sophisticated instruments that interpret the dance. They produce the spectra that become the science.

The design and construction of these astronomical instruments will be a strength of the GTC, and Florida is proud to participate in their creation with our colleagues In Spain and Mexico. We have already built an infrared camera and spectrograph called Canaricam that is one of two major instruments initially employed ont he telescope. We anticipate the completion of other instrumentation projects currently underway.

We stand here today in celebration of the GTC, one fo the world’s finest scientific facilities. But to keep it on the cutting edge of science, we must create the next generation of instruments. The design and construction of astronomical instrumentation is one of Florida’s hallmarks, and we pledge our expertise in collaboration with our colleagues from Spain and Mexico to ensure that the scientific life of the GTC is long and fruitful. We are proud to be members of the GTC’s leading international teams in scientific discovery. We look forward to a long, productive and starlit future.”

- UF Provost Joe Glover
Inauguration of the Gran Telescopio
Canarias in La Palma, Canary Islands
June 24, 2009

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