July 17, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 19

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    Kron named director of Sloan Digital Sky Survey, Turner will take NSF position

    By Steve Koppes
    News Office

    Two Chicago astronomers were named to national and international scientific leadership posts last month. The National Science Foundation has named Michael Turner to a two-year term as assistant director for mathematical and physical sciences, effective Wednesday, Oct. 1.

    Richard Kron, meanwhile, became director of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey on Tuesday, July 1.

    Turner, the Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics, will take a leave of absence from the University while working at the NSF in Arlington, Va.

    “I believe there is a special opportunity to give the physical sciences a boost and realize some great opportunities for discovery, and I think I can make a difference,” Turner said.

    “NSF is in a unique position to articulate the importance of research in the physical sciences to the nation and to lead the effort to ensure that they are properly supported.”

    The NSF’s Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences has an annual budget of more than $1 billion and supports research in physics, chemistry, astronomy, materials research and mathematics, as well as many interdisciplinary activities.

    For the past two years Kron, Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics, served as scientific spokesperson for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. In that capacity he was responsible for promoting the scientific activities of the survey, a collaboration of 13 institutions around the world and more than 200 astronomers conducting the largest census ever taken of the sky.

    He also is the former director of the University’s Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wis.

    “My chief goal is assuring that access to the data by the scientific community and the public is stable and smooth and easy to use,” said Kron, who will continue teaching at the University.