University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA) Director Günther Hasinger is leaving UH to be the next director of science at the European Space Agency (ESA), Europe’s equivalent to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He will be responsible for the definition, planning and execution of ESA‘s science program, which includes working with member countries and international partners like the United States. Hasinger has been with the university since 2011.
- Related: Günther Hasinger appointed as ESA director of science, ESA, December 14, 2017
“I am extremely honored to have been part of the IfA ʻohana and to have worked with such a talented and dedicated group of people,” said Hasinger, who will be based in Spain and will be closer to his family, including his first grandchild. “I look forward to future partnerships between ESA, NASA and the ground-based observatories, especially those here in Hawaiʻi.”
“I want to thank Günther for his passion and dedication to astronomy, to our students, and to the state of Hawaiʻi,” said UH Mānoa Vice Chancellor Michael Bruno. “He has been an extraordinary ambassador for the university while working tirelessly to support the outstanding scientists and students of the Institute for Astronomy. He will be missed.”
“Lasting changes to IfA’s education and outreach programs were made under Günther’s leadership,” added UH President and Interim Mānoa Chancellor David Lassner. “IfA and the UH Mānoa College of Natural Sciences greatly expanded undergraduate education opportunities with a new BA in astronomy and a BS in astrophysics.”
During his tenure, Hasinger oversaw many significant advances at IfA. The Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Haleakalā came into full operation on Maui, producing the world’s foremost sky survey and becoming the world leader in the detection of asteroids, comets and near-Earth objects. The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, also on Haleakalā, drew close to completion during his tenure. Hasinger also helped shepherd the transfer to UH of the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope and James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Maunakea. IfA also worked with the Maunakea observatory community to significantly expand public outreach, including partnering in the development of the Maunakea Scholars program. IfA now organizes more than 200 events annually, reaching 25,000 people on multiple islands across the state.
UH will name an interim director for IfA to lead the institute during an international search for its next director.