Tim is a founder member of the DES consortium, specializing in instrumentation. That is, he participated in the design and construction of DECam and managed its installation on the telescope. He is now Telescope Scientist for the Blanco telescope and member of the DECam support team. As such, he is responsible for the continued excellent performance of the telescope and instrument, supporting both DES and the community use of the facility.
We asked Tim a few more questions — here’s what he had to say:
What is your favorite part about being a scientist?
The view from the mountain, at both day and night.
When did you know you wanted to be a scientist?
When I was a teenager, on reading waaay too much science fiction.
Do you have any hobbies or play any sports?
I enjoy photography and Renaissance art, and I am learning to dance Flamenco. I’m not very good.
What is your favorite book, movie, and/or TV show?
Favorite book: The Discovery of Heaven by Harry Mulisch – it has the best characterization of an astronomer I have yet seen, plus it is a fantastic story, in every sense of the word.
What do you think has been the most exciting advance in physics / astronomy in the last 10 years?
There’s a lot to choose from, and we’ve known about Dark Energy for more than a decade, so it would probably have to be all those planets, so many planets! The recent images of Pluto are pretty cool too.
What do you think has been the most exciting advance in science / technology in the last 10 years?
Can I go back a few more than ten years? If so, it would have to be the development and large scale production of near perfect optical detectors. Without them, DES, and most of modern ground-based astronomy, would be impossible.
Any advice for aspiring scientists?
Persevere, but remember to enjoy the ride.