Scientific Staff

NOAO scientific staff, location, scientific interests, and functional duties. Personal web sites can be accessed by clicking on the scientist’s name. The NOAO South Staff are listed below, and as a group here.

Phone numbers and email addresses for all employees are available in the NOAO Phone List Search.

NOAO Science Staff
Name Rank Scientific Interests Functional Responsibilities Location
Timothy Abbott (Tim) Scientist Late stages of binary stellar evolution; Optical and IR observing systems: telescopes, instrumentation; operations
Blanco Telescope Scientist, ACTR chair, DECam team support member La Serena
Helmut Abt Astronomer Emeritus Double stars; stellar rotation; stellar characteristics; publication practices in astronomy Thai 2.4-m telescope (Tucson supervisor), Scientometrics Tucson
Lori Allen Scientist Star and planet formation; infrared astronomy and instrumentation NOAO Associate Director for Kitt Peak National Observatory Tucson
Michael Belton (Mike) Astronomer Emeritus Planetary science; comets; asteroids; Jupiter system   Tucson
Robert Blum (Bob) Astronomer Galactic Center; massive star birth; clusters; resolved stellar populations in the local volume NOAO Deputy Director Tucson
Adam S. Bolton Senior Scientist Observational cosmology; galaxies and dark matter; gravitational lensing; spectroscopic surveys; data mining, algorithms, and statistics NOAO Associate Director for the Community Science and Data Center Tucson
César Briceño Associate Scientist Star formation, young stars SOAR Support, SAM support. La Serena
Arjun Dey Astronomer Galaxy evolution; high redshift galaxies; large-scale structure NOAO/KPNO DESI liaison scientist, Keck contact scientist Tucson
Mark Dickinson Astronomer Galaxy formation and evolution; high redshift galaxies; active galactic nuclei U.S. ELT Program Scientist Tucson
Mark Everett Research Associate Exoplanets; stellar variability; time domain studies Kepler Mission Follow-up Program Tucson
Katy Garmany

Emeritus Scientist

Massive stars, evolution and formation; astronomical education Tohono O'odham relations  Tucson
Stephen Heathcote (Steve) Astronomer Young Stellar Objects, Herbig-Haro outflows NOAO Associate Director for NOAO South (including Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory) SOAR/La Serena
Kenneth Hinkle (Ken) Scientist Circumstellar and interstellar matter; molecular spectroscopy; peculiar stars; instrumentation
US NGO, Gemini user support (Archive, AO, IR instruments);  Instrument scientist (Phoenix)
Richard Joyce (Dick) Scientist Late-type stars; mass loss; infrared detector and instrumentation development Mayall 4-m Telescope scientist, Instrument scientist (WHIRC), NOAO-DESI Scientist, Member WIYN Science Steering Committee (SSC) Tucson
Thomas Kinman (Tom) Astronomer Emeritus Galactic structure; galactic halo; horizontal branch stars   Tucson
Tod Lauer Astronomer Cosmology; large-scale structure of the Universe; evolution of the Universe; distance scale; structure of galaxies; dense stellar system; black holes in galactic nuclei; stellar populations WIYN Board Member; Instrument Scientist: MOSAIC; NOAO LSST science working group; NOAO Survey Liaison Tucson
Roger Lynds Astronomer Emeritus Star and galaxy formation; products of galaxy interaction in the recent and early Universe   Tucson
Thomas Matheson (Tom) Associate Astronomer Supernovae; novae; gamma-ray bursts; cosmology Gemini user support (GMOS), Gemini archive support, NOAO LSST science working group, SCD/ANTARES Tucson
Joan Najita  Astronomer Star and planet formation; protoplanetary disks; astrochemistry; astrobiology; debris disks; exoplanets and substellar objects; infrared spectroscopy; wide-field surveys Chief Scientist; Science Press Officer; e-newsletter Currents editor Tucson
Gautham Narayan Research Associate Cosmology: dark energy, and the evolution of the Universe, distance indicators, supernovae, modeling and high-performance computing Post doctoral researcher Tucson
David Nidever Associate Scientist Galaxy formation and evolution; galactic chemical evolution; galactic structure; Magellanic Clouds; stellar populations; large photometric and spectroscopic surveys; software pipelines Survey Data Scientist Tucson
Robert Nikutta Associate Scientist AGN tori & central engine (IR & X-ray & sub-mm), surveys & catalogs (WISE, SDSS), Bayesian & advanced statistics, variability of AGN, IR interferometry, dust radiative transfer in clumpy media, software development, modeling & SED fitting, big data, HPC in astronomy, visualization Survey Data Scientist Tucson
Dara Norman Associate Scientist Gravitational lensing; large scale structure; quasars NOAO Diversity Co-Advocate, Gemini user support (GMOS) (also assigned NDO, see above) Tucson
Knut Olsen Associate Astronomer Stellar populations; galaxy formation and evolution; interaction of stars with the ISM System Community Development Head, NOAO LSST science working group Tucson
Sean Points Scientist Interstellar Medium (ISM); Magellanic Clouds; supernova remnants, evolved stars; instrumentation Instrument Scientist: SOI, Goodman Spectrograph, COSMOS, and ARCoIRIS; Blanco Scheduler La Serena
Stephen Pompea (Steve) Observatory Scientist Inquiry- and research-based science education; astronomical instrumentation EPO Head, Manager Of Science Education, Public Information Officer Tucson
Ronald Probst (Ron) Scientist Star-forming regions; low-mass stars; infrared imaging instrumentation
NOAO DESI System Scientist; Mayall 4-m improvements and operations
Jayadev Rajagopal Associate Scientist Circumstellar dust, debris disks; high angular resolution techniques in optical/infrared; atmospheric turbulence WIYN Telescope Scientist,
Gemini User Support (NICI)
Amy Reines Research Associate Massive black holes in dwarf galaxies; evolution of black holes and galaxies; AGNs; extragalactic star formation Hubble Fellow Tucson
Stephen Ridgway (Steve)


 Variability, transients and temporal sky surveys Data Lab Time Domain Scientist, Optical Interferometry Community Liaison, Co-Diversity Advocate Tucson
Susan Ridgway Associate Scientist Quasar host galaxies Gemini user support (NIRI, GMOS) Tucson
Abhijit Saha (Abi) Astronomer Variable stars; stellar populations; cosmological distance scale; imaging and photometry Time domain scientist, ANTARES project;  Chair, Promotions and Tenure Committee; WIYN Board member;  member Gemini Science & Technology Advisory Committee. Tucson
David Silva (Dave) Senior Scientist Extragalactic stellar populations; elliptical galaxies NOAO Director Tucson
Malcolm Smith Astronomer Global environmental impact of light pollution; the early Universe; quasars/active galactic nuclei Site protection, EPO La Serena
R. Christopher Smith (Chris) Astronomer Supernovae; optical transients; supernova remnants; the interstellar medium DECam support, AURA Head of Mission in Chile La Serena
Verne Smith Astronomer High-resolution spectroscopy; cosmochemistry; nuclear astrophysics; chemical evolution; stellar populations; stellar atmospheres; stellar evolution
Chair of the NOAO Telescope Allocation Committee (TAC); Program Head of the US National Gemini Office (NGO); President of the WIYN Observatory Board of Directors
Monika Soraisam Research Associate Novae, variable stars, Type Ia supernova progenitors, stellar population of M31 Postdoctoral researcher Tucson
David Sprayberry Senior Scientist Instrumentation and observing techniques; galaxy formation and evolution; statistical analysis of galaxy populations, especially dwarf and low surface brightness galaxies Manager of NN-ETS; Project Manager for NOAO-DESI Tucson
Letizia Stanghellini Astronomer Stellar structure and evolution; Galactic and extragalactic planetary  Head, US National Gemini Office  Tucson
Stephen Strom (Steve) Astronomer Emeritus Formation and evolution of planetary systems; origin of stellar angular moment   Tucson
Andrei Tokovinin Astronomer Statistics and formation of binary and multiple stars; adaptive optics; site testing Instrument scientist(1.5-m echelle), project scientist (SOAR Adaptive Optics Module) La Serena
Francisco Valdes (Frank) Scientist Cosmology; gravitational lensing; stellar spectroscopy; astronomical software
Data pipelines (ODI, DECam-CP,+), IRAF application development
Nicole van der Bliek Scientist Instrumentation; young stars and cool stars NOAO South Deputy Director La Serena
Katherina Vivas Assistant Astronomer

Stellar populationss, RRL variable stars, galactic structure

CTIO Support Astronomer, DECam support team member La Serena
Alistair Walker Astronomer Stellar populations; the Magellanic Clouds; the distance scale; astronomical instrumentation and detectors DECam Instrument Scientist, Leader of Optical Imagers Support Team, Member of the NOAO Promotion and Tenure Committee, Member of CTIO Advisory Committee on Technical Resources (ACTR), LSST Operations Planning  La Serena
Constance Walker (Connie) Scientist Inquiry- and research-based science education; submillimeter-wave spectroscopy of star formation in galaxies at different epochs Dark skies awareness, informal science programs Tucson
Benjamin A. Weaver Associate Scientist Galaxy properties, large-scale structure, astronomical "big data", Python in astronomy. Data management, transfer and archiving for Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI). Development of user interfaces, visualization and utilities for spectroscopic data. Tucson
Sidney Wolff Astronomer Emeritus Star formation; stellar rotation President, LSST Corporation Tucson
Alfredo Zenteno Research Associate Observational Cosmology DECam/Blanco Support La Serena


Last updated or reviewed December 26, 2018.