Subject: Re: Minutes of September 19-20 APO User's Community Meeting

From: Mark Hereld

Submitted: Mon, 20 Oct 1997 15:58:29 -0500 (CDT)

Message number: 194 (previous: 193, next: 195 up: Index)

Some comments:

> Chris Stubbs
>         Our telescope is doing science, but performance can be improved
>         Improvements are more than just those listed in the 3-yr. plan
>         Coordinated effort between site staff and universities

"doing science": The community would be well served by coordinating the PR
of the science that is being done. This could take the form of any or all
of the following sorts of things: 

   () most important: aggressively push the observers to produce papers,
      publish them, and present them at conferences...with the important
      and appropriate nod to the facility itself.

   () collect the science results (pretty pictures with plenty of words on
      up through preprints and references to publications) and make them
      known within and outside of the community.  web pages.

   () heighten awareness inside of the member universities of the science
      that is being done by the ARC facilities.  I suspect that many people
      would say "what science?" at this point.  show them.  colloquia, etc.

   () organized presence at meetings.

> Chris's Attitude: Engineering tasks take priority. Coordination of the
> tasks is not outstanding; to improve this would require a Project
> Manager working at least 1/2 time. 
>   Note all the people involved with 3.5m upgrades are also involved
> with Sloan. 
>   Given the difficulties of scheduling engineering time, we are
> starting a policy as of 1 October of letting engineering time "fall
> like rain" on the schedule, pre-empting scheduled observers.  Note
> that observers can indicate in their proposal if their program is
> time-critical, and thus *must* not be pre-empted. 

Yes!  Flexibility is a key asset designed into the ARC telescope.  Letting
engineering time "fall like rain" COULDN'T be done anywhere else in the
world...though not for long.  IMHO not enough has been made of the
fundamental shift in approach represented and pioneered with our
telescope.  Fatter cats are getting more credit for "remote obs",
"automated observing", and "flexible scheduling" than is their due: and
it's our piece of the pie that they are munching. 

We should pursue this approach.  We should extend it as necessary with 
newer and better software and ideas.  And we should aggressively advertise 
our successes and lessons learned from less fruitful approaches tested.

- Mark

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