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New Director for Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes

ING web news release
14 July, 2009

Dr Marc Balcells, a tenured researcher at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, has been appointed Director of the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes. He will begin his new role with effect from 15 July 2009.

Born in Barcelona, Dr Balcells obtained a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA.  His scientific interests are broad and include galaxy formation and assembly, deep surveys, galaxy structure, dynamics and evolution, numerical modelling of interactions and mergers of galaxies, and the development of near-infrared instrumentation.

Dr Balcells is co-founder of the GOYA collaboration for high-redshift galaxy studies with GTC, and is a member of a number of international research groups including the EMIR scientific group and the Coma-ACS Legacy Survey collaboration, where he leads the Coma Structural Parameters working group. He is also involved in instrumentation and was principal investigator of the EMIR near-infrared multi-object spectrograph for GTC and initiated its design. He was a member of the Science Advisory Committee for ING and has been promoting the development of wide-field spectroscopy and imaging at the WHT.

Dr Marc Balcells, Director ING. [ JPEG ].

Speaking about the William Herschel Telescope, Dr Balcells said, “The WHT stands out among intermediate-size telescopes for its broad instrumentation suite and its programme of visiting instruments, in a site well known for its superb observing conditions. The immediate goals for the coming years will be to fully exploit the upcoming HARPS spectrograph for planet detection; to develop the next generation of wide-field instrumentation for the WHT, and to prepare new agreements to run the organisation through the coming decade. Together, these developments should reinforce the role of the WHT as one of the most productive 4-meter telescopes in the world."

Professor Keith Mason, Chief Executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), said, “I am delighted that Dr Balcells is joining us as Director of ING. He has a distinguished career in astronomy and we're very pleased to have someone of his ability leading the future of the facility.”

First meeting of Marc Balcells with staff. [ JPEG ].

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Last modified: 22 December 2010