Joint release from PPARC and NWO: Netherlands
Organisation for Scientific Research

25 June 1998                                                    12/98

Director of the ISAAC Newton Group of Telescopes, La

Dr Rene Rutten has been appointed as Director of the Isaac
Newton Group of Telescopes on La Palma in the Canary
Islands.  Dr Rutten, aged 39, is from the Netherlands
Foundation for Research in Astronomy and has been working
at the Universities of Utrecht and Amsterdam. He has been
acting Director since November 1997.  Before that he was
the Head of Astronomy of the ING. His scientific interests
cover the observational study of magnetic fields on solar-type
stars, and accretion processes in interacting binaries.

Dr Rutten's appointment is a joint appointment for five years
by the UK and the Netherlands which provide the Isaac
Newton Group of telescopes for the astronomers of their
communities and Spain, as well as Ireland and Portugal.
The appointment was as recommended by the UK/NL Joint
Steering Committee (JSC).

The JSC, at the same meeting, accepted a report on the ING
by a Visiting Panel chaired by Dr. R Cannon (Anglo
Australian Observatory).  Accordingly, the JSC decided:
        to establish a joint programme of research at the ING
by appointing (on a competitive basis) La Palma Research
        to support the UK in a request to Spain for an option to
participate in the 8 metre telescope project Gran Telescopio
de Canarias, to be established on La Palma by the Instituto
de Astrofisica de Canarias;
        to re-establish the joint programme of instrumentation
for the ING by means of coordinated programmes in the UK
and Netherlands, and eventually perhaps with the Gran
Telescopio de Canarias.


The Isaac Newton Group (ING) consists of the 4.2m William
Herschel Telescope, the 2.5m Isaac Newton Telescope and
the 1m Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope.  The telescopes are
owned and operated jointly by the UK's Particle Physics and
Astronomy Research Council and the Netherlands'
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek
(NWO), which have established the UK/NL Joint Steering
Committee as their governing body.  Among recent
astronomical highlights from the telescopes were the first
identification of the optical outburst of a gamma ray burster,
leading to its location in a distant galaxy.  The telescopes
are located in the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos
on La Palma at a height of 2400m.  The internationalised
observatory belongs to the Instituto de Astrofisica de
Canarias, which will establish its 8m telescope near to the

Press information:      Charlotte Allen, PPARC press office
                                 Tel: 01793 442012

Photograph:             A photograph of Dr Rene Rutten can
                                   be found at the following site: