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Wednesday, April 5, 2000

UH pares search
for Astronomy
director to two

Candidates from Germany and
Australia are finalists for the
position, which has taken
nearly 3 years to fill

By Helen Altonn


Astronomy directors in Germany and Australia are final candidates in a long global search for a director at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy.

University of Hawaii They are Rolf-Peter Kudritzki, astronomy director at the University of Munich, and Jeremy Mould, director of research in the School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Both will be brought here for another session, said Alan H. Teramura, UH senior vice president for research. "We are at the point of talking about specifics."

Jeremiah Ostriker, provost of Princeton University, withdrew as a candidate last month. Roger Davies, of the Department of Physics, University of Durham, England, withdrew earlier. Both cited personal reasons.

Robert McLaren has been the UH Astronomy Institute's interim director since succeeding Donald N.B. Hall in June, 1997. He has continued to oversee the Mauna Kea observatory complex, his previous position.

Teramura said McLaren "has been a wonderful asset to the university. He has done a yeoman's job."

McLaren has faced many difficulties involving personalities and issues, such as master planning for Mauna Kea and running operations on three islands, Teramura said.

"We have faculty on three different islands with all the attendant issues involved on those islands. It becomes a huge job," Teramura said.

The search for a director was dropped last year following interviews with Frank Shu, University of California-Berkeley astronomy professor, and Richard Ellis, director of the University of Cambridge Institute for Astronomy.

Shu was interested, but the UH couldn't find a position for his wife in her field of biotechnology commercialization. Ellis expressed concern about maintaining his research with the extensive administrative responsibilities.

The search was resumed and reorganized last fall under the leadership of Klaus Keil, director of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, after three other top UH research vacancies were filled.

Keil declined to discuss the search yesterday, saying only, "The directorship of the IFA is one of the most challenging and exciting positions at the University of Hawaii and we're all hopeful that we find a strong candidate and a strong leader."

Teramura said Kudritzki and Mould are "outstanding, world-class candidates. We're really looking to find leadership that will move the Institute for Astronomy to the next level of excellence."

He said the IFA ranks in the top 10 to 14 astronomy programs nationally and "we think we have a real possibility of getting to the next tier, the top five in the nation. "

The candidates look forward to working with native Hawaiians on Mauna Kea issues, Teramura said. "They are seasoned people who have worked on international sites with different types of sensitivities."

Teramura said UH administrators haven't discussed salaries with the candidates, but said, "I feel we will reach closure soon.

"We are a major research university; we're very competitive. In the last few years, we've hired professors from Harvard, Yale and Duke University. ... Of course none of that would have been done unless we offered competitive salaries and packages."

University of Hawaii
UH Institute for Astronomy

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