Candidate Statement: Michael J. West

Nominated Office: USNC-IAU

Affiliation: Maria Mitchell Observatory

Position/title: Director

PhD institution: Yale University (1987)

Areas of scientific interest:

  • galaxy formation and evolution
  • clusters of galaxies
  • globular clusters
  • public outreach

AAS positions:

  • Member, AAS (1986-present)

Other relevant positions and experience:

  • NASA Astrophysics Data Analysis Program Panel (2014)
  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship Selection Committee, Government of Canada (2013-2015)
  • Astronomy Education Panel, National Science Foundation (2014)
  • CTIO Director Search Committee (2013)
  • Head of Science in Chile, ESO (2007-2013)
  • Space Science Enhancement Program Panel, Canadian Space Agency (2009)
  • ALMA Visitor Center Advisory Committee (2009)
  • International Advisory Committee, FONDAP, Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica de Chile (2009)
  • Chair of Scientific Organizing Committee for "Galaxy Clusters in the Early Universe" conference (2009)
  • Chair, IAU Commission 55 Working Group on New Ways of Communicating Astronomy with the Public (2007-2013)
  • Head of Science Operations, Gemini South (2006-2007)
  • Grant Selection Committee, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (2004-2006)
  • Mauna Kea Observatories Outreach Committee (2002-2006)
  • NASA Astrophysics Theory Program Review Panel (2003)
  • Chief astronomy content developer, Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii (2001-2006)
  • Board of Directors, Canadian Astronomical Society (1999-2002)
  • Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics Peer Review Panel, National Research Council of Canada (1998)
  • Canadian Telescope Time Allocation Committee (1997-1999; Chair for 1999)

Candidate Statement: I have nearly thirty years of experience as a professional astronomer, many of them spent abroad. I’ve held research, teaching and management positions in Canada, Chile, the Gambia (western Africa) and the Netherlands, as well as the United States. As ESO’s Head of Science in Chile for six years, I supervised an international staff of astronomers, postdocs and students comprised of more than two-dozen different nationalities. As a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, I was actively involved with the international community of observatories on Mauna Kea, including authoring a new book titled A Sky Wonderful with Stars: 50 Years of Modern Astronomy on Maunakea, that will be published in 2015.

This international experience has been very enriching and fuels my commitment to fostering international efforts in astronomy. As a member of both the IAU and AAS for more than two decades, I’m familiar with the synergies and opportunities that exist between our two organizations. I would be honored to serve the American astronomical community as a member of the USNC-IAU.