International Collaborations

“La prosperidad futura y el bienestar de ambos países dependen de una inversión sostenida en ciencia e ingeniería.”

“The future prosperity and well-being of both countries depend on sustained investment in science and engineering.” – I was quoted in El Mercurio, a Chilean newspaper, a few days ago, after being asked about NSF’s collaboration with Chile. Chile and NSF have worked closely on several astronomy collaborations that have impacts far beyond our own countries’ borders.  NSF has helped provide construction and operational support for these facilities (e.g., Cerro Tololo, Gemini South and ALMA), as well as funded researchers who make important discoveries there. As recently as November 2014, ALMA captured the best image ever of planet formation around an infant star, further whetting astronomer’s appetites to explore our universe.

On April 14, I participated in the traditional Chilean stone-laying ceremony to celebrate the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). LSST is a survey telescope that will image the entire visible sky a few times a week for 10 years, allowing scientists to view a vast swath of sky that wasn’t possible to see before. During my visit, I had the honor to meet with my Chilean counterpart, Dr. Francisco Brieva, President of the Chilean National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT). We share so much – a commitment to exploration and excellence, and a desire to see our partnership continue to expand.  More than ever, the future prosperity and well-being of both Chileans and Americans depends on sustained investments in science and engineering, and I am confident CONICYT and NSF will continue to be central to that effort.


Photo credit: La Presidenta y yo Flickr page
In the photo from left: Chilean President (in red) Michelle Bachelet, me and LSST Director Steve Kahn

Back in March, I went to Mexico to participate in the inauguration of the High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Observatory which will study high-energy cosmic and gamma rays. These international collaborations are critical to keeping the U.S. globally competitive at the frontiers of knowledge, leading to transformational science and engineering breakthroughs. Quoting President Barack Obama: “When we study together, we learn together, we work together, and we prosper together.“ Collaborations expand opportunities for both countries and allow us to share best practices in research and education.


Photo credit: NSF
Photo of the HAWC tanks in Mexico