- Press Release
- August 12, 2022
Lo Appointed Director of National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Washington, DC – Riccardo Giacconi, president of Associated
Universities, Inc. (AUI), the not-for-profit corporation that operates
the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) under a cooperative
agreement with the National Science Foundation, is pleased to announce
the appointment of Fred K.Y. Lo as the director of the NRAO, effective
September 1, 2002. Lo currently is a Distinguished Research Fellow and
the Director of the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the
Academia Sinica, located in Taipei, Taiwan.
Lo succeeds Paul A. Vanden Bout, who served as NRAO director from
January 1, 1985, to June 1, 2002. Vanden Bout stepped down to become
the interim director of the Joint ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array)
Office. W. Miller Goss, former assistant director of New Mexico
Operations for NRAO, has been appointed as acting director in the interim.
“We are delighted that Dr. Lo has accepted this critical and demanding
position,” said Giacconi. “The national and international scientific
community is indeed fortunate to have an astronomer of this caliber
directing the NRAO as it begins a new era of exploration and discovery.”
Martha P. Haynes of Cornell University, and chairman of the AUI Board of
Trustees, points out the AUI Board’s strong endorsement of Lo’s
appointment to lead the NRAO. “As an active radio astronomer,
university professor, and director of an institute that is working on a
number of novel projects, Fred Lo has distinguished himself as a leading
figure in the United States and international astronomical communities,”
Lo received his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees in Physics from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969 and 1974, respectively.
He joined the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1974 as a
Research Fellow in Radio Astronomy. In 1976, Lo went to the University
of California at Berkeley as a Miller Fellow. Two years later, he
returned to Caltech where he held various research and teaching
positions until 1986.
In 1986, Lo accepted the position of Professor of Astronomy at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and served as the chairman
of that university’s astronomy department from 1995 to 1997. Lo
accepted his current position at the Academia Sinica in 1997. He also
accepted the post of Professor of Physics at the National Taiwan
University in 1998.
Lo is an accomplished radio astronomer with very wide research
interests. His studies include star formation in different
environments, such as dwarf galaxies; starbursts in nearby and very
distant galaxies; and the determination of the structure of Sagittarius
A, the compact radio source at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. He
has been intimately involved in the construction and scientific use of
all the millimeter-wave and sub-millimeter-wave interferometer arrays in
the United States, and has made the first millimeter-wave
interferometric map of carbon dioxide emission from an external galaxy.
More recently, he has been leading an effort in Taiwan to build an
array to study the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation — the echo of
the Big Bang.
In coming to NRAO, Lo will direct the daily operation and formulate the
long-term goals of one of the world’s leading astronomical
observatories. NRAO’s facilities include the Very Long Baseline Array,
ten remotely controlled radio telescopes that work together as the
world’s largest, full-time astronomical instrument; the Robert C. Byrd
Green Bank Telescope, the world’s largest fully steerable radio
telescope; and the Very Large Array, the most productive astronomical
instrument on Earth. The VLA currently is undergoing a multi-year
enhancement and expansion project. Also, NRAO is proceeding together
with international partners in the construction of the Atacama Large
Millimeter Array, an array of 64, 12-meter millimeter-wave antennas to
be constructed in the high Atacama plateau of northern Chile.
Vanden Bout will continue working on developing this instrument as the
Joint ALMA Office’s interim director. After which he will undertake a
research sabbatical and then return to the NRAO’s research staff.
“The legacy left behind by Paul Vanden Bout is remarkable,” said Lo. “I
look forward to the challenge and opportunity of continuing the
outstanding operation of NRAO, while working to ensure the scientific
and technological excellence of the observatory.”
“Paul Vanden Bout has brought the observatory extraordinary success
under his leadership,” said Giacconi. “The international astronomical
community has benefitted greatly by his vision and leadership, and we
are pleased to build on that outstanding foundation as NRAO moves into a
new era under Lo’s direction.”
The NRAO is headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia. The NRAO
operates three principal sites in Green Bank, West Virginia; Tucson,
Arizona; and Socorro, New Mexico. The observatory is charged with
providing astronomers with access to state-of-the-art radio telescope
facilities, which they use to conduct forefront astronomical research.
Under its charge, the observatory constructs and operates unique
facilities and designs future ones to provide maximal observing
capability to the astronomical community.
Editors: An image of Dr. Lo is available at the following web address:
Images of NRAO’s Instruments and Research Facilities are located at: