Press Release

NRAO Names New Head of New Mexico Operations

By SpaceRef Editor
October 29, 2001
Filed under , ,

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) has named Jim
Ulvestad the new Assistant Director for New Mexico Operations
in Socorro, New Mexico, effective December 15. As Assistant Director,
Ulvestad will oversee the operation and management of two of NRAO’s
principal research facilities, the

Very Large Array (VLA)
and the

Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)
. He succeeds W. Miller Goss, who
is stepping down as Assistant Director after serving in that
capacity since 1988.

“We are delighted that Jim will assume this vital position for our
observatory,” said NRAO Director Paul Vanden Bout. “His solid
background as a researcher, his broad knowledge of the astronomical
community and his detailed understanding of the VLA and the VLBA
will help us keep these facilities at the cutting edge of science
in the coming years.”

Vanden Bout also praised Goss, who will remain on the observatory’s
research staff, for his leadership of the VLA and VLBA over the past
14 years. “Miller’s goal always was to make these radio telescopes
the most productive possible tools for science, and to serve the
scientific community with distinction. He succeeded, and the excellent
reputation of NRAO’s Socorro Operations among scientists is a tribute
to his efforts,” Vanden Bout said.

“I look forward to continuing to work with NRAO’s outstanding
New Mexico staff in a new capacity,” Ulvestad said. “I am confident
they will meet the challenge of operating the most scientifically
productive ground-based telescope of the last 20 years, at the same
time that we are dramatically expanding the technical capabilities
of the VLA and planning for improvements to the VLBA,” he added.

Ulvestad, currently NRAO’s Deputy Assistant Director in Socorro,
joined the observatory in 1996 after spending 12 years on the
staff of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA.
He received his Ph.D in astronomy from the University of Maryland
and worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the NRAO
facility in Charlottesville, VA, prior to joining JPL. He has
served on a number of professional panels and working groups,
and is author of numerous scientific papers and reports.

Ulvestad’s astronomical research has focused on active galaxies,
galaxies with massive black holes at their cores, and the
phenomena related to them. He also has done extensive work
on the techniques of high-resolution radio interferometry,
including the use of orbiting radio telescopes. Together with
other NRAO-New Mexico staff, he led NRAO’s

successful effort to
link the VLBA antenna at Pie Town, NM, to the VLA with a real-time
fiber-optic connection
, producing the capability to double the
resolution, or ability to discern detail, of the VLA.

Goss, who joined NRAO in 1988, after working at radio observatories
in the Netherlands, Germany, Australia and the U.S., will remain
at NRAO as a staff scientist, pursuing a wide range of research
interests as well as supervising graduate-student research
projects. Under Goss’ leadership, numerous technical improvements
were made to the VLA. Also, the continent-wide VLBA’s construction
was completed and that instrument, which provides astronomers with
the most detailed images available from any telescope, was brought
on-line.

“After 14 years of managing the VLA and VLBA, I look forward to
becoming a full-time user of these outstanding radio telescopes,”
Goss said. “I have worked with Jim Ulvestad for many years and
know he will do an excellent job as the new Assistant Director,”
Goss added.

As Ulvestad assumes his new role, the NRAO is beginning the

VLA Expansion Project
, a two-step plan to increase the scientific
capability of the VLA tenfold. Built during the 1970s and
dedicated in 1980, the VLA has been used to
advance the
understanding of nearly every type of object in the universe
.
The VLA Expansion Project will replace obsolete original
technology with current technology and add new facilities to
the system, ensuring that the VLA remains at the leading edge
of astronomical research.

In addition to the instruments headquartered at Socorro, the NRAO
operates the
Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope
in Green Bank, WV,
the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope. NRAO also
is collaborating with Europe and Japan on the design and construction of
the
Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA)
, an array of 64 antennas that
will be built in the Chilean Andes over the next decade.

The
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
is a facility of the
National Science Foundation, operated
under cooperative agreement by
Associated Universities, Inc
.

Contacts:

Dave Finley, Public Information Officer
Socorro, NM
(505) 835-7302
[email protected]

Charles Blue, Public Information Offcier
Charlottesville, VA
(434) 296-0323
[email protected]

SpaceRef staff editor.