The GSMT Science Working Group announces a workshop on public participation in the next generation of giant optical-IR telescopes

The GSMT Science Working Group (SWG) is promoting the public-private partnership in a next generation Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) that received the highest ranking of all ground-based programs in the 2000 Decadal Survey of Astronomy & Astrophysics. The Thirty-Meter-Telescope (TMT) and the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) are two ambitious but viable projects that have responded to the Decadal Survey’s challenge. The Science Working Group believes that, over the decade, the case for facilities such as GMT and TMT is even more compelling: these are essential tools to continued progress in high-priority science goals in our field.

Science with Giant Telescopes
Public Participation in TMT and GMT
June 15-18, 2008 • InterContinental Hotel, Chicago, Illinois

Both TMT and GMT have expressed a strong commitment to participation by U.S. scientists from non-member institutions in the building and use of their facilities. The National Science Foundation, AURA, and NOAO fully support the goal of U.S. public participation in at least one, and possibly both, of these ambitious projects. Although the designs of these two telescopes are well advanced, the opportunity for public involvement in planning and executing science programs, specifying and constructing instrumentation, modes of operation, time allocation, integration into and coordination with the full system of US astronomical facilities, and the processing, archiving, and public distribution of data products are all topics that now require strong involvement from the full US astronomical community. At the Workshop the GMT and TMT Projects will offer their thinking on these topics. Invited speakers outside of these projects will express their views and wide audience participation will be encouraged. Examples of “science use cases” covering various subjects and a wide range in scope will be developed and presented to help identify the issues, and there will be much time for discussion. The use cases will be presented in several sessions, comprising a lead invited talk, additional contributed talks, and a moderated discussion. Workshop attendees who are interested in presenting a contributed talk (nominally of about 10 minutes duration) describing a science use case are invited to propose to do so. Template use cases and other information on the Workshop can be found below.

The SWG wants the Workshop to be the next major step in developing the private-public partnership envisioned in the 2000 Decadal Survey, and intends that the proceedings of this Workshop will be the supporting document for presentation—on behalf of the entire US astronomical community—to the new Decadal Survey. A high ranking for such projects in the US—commensurate with the strong commitment of European astronomers to their own E-ELT—is vital for continued progress.

Registration Information

The workshop will not charge a registration fee, and the sponsors will also cover reasonable travel expenses for US-based participants. Anyone interested in participating in the workshop should e-mail Laurie Phillips (lphillips AT The e-mail should include:

Questions regarding the workshop may be directed to the SOC or to Laurie Phillips at NOAO (lphillips AT

Scientific Organizing Committee