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U of T's bright new star

The Toronto Star interviews James R. Graham, world-renowned astronomer and the new director University of Toronto's Dunlap Institute. Now entering its third year the Dunlap Institute is a research and public outreach program hosted by UofT's School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Graham, who has worked for the past 18 years at the University of California, Berkley, is coming to Dunlap to spearhead the institute's role in what could be the most important astronomical initiatives of the decade, the $800 million Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) project. The (TMT), expected to be fully operational in 2018, is to be the largest telescope ever built. An excerpt from the interview:

"You made your name as an astronomer through discoveries made with adaptive optics. What are they?"

"Adaptive optics is a system for a telescope on the ground that first measures how the Earth's atmosphere distorts images ó think of viewing a distant scene through the hot air rising from asphalt on a sunny day ó and then corrects these distortions to make the images sharp."

anets are, and what is the process that leads to their formation.

"Tell me about the Thirty Metre Telescope."

"It's one of the major initiatives in astronomy over the next decade, a successor to the current generation of large telescopes. The scale of modern astronomy projects is such that individual countries can't build the next generation. The fact that Canada is a partner is a testament to the boldness of the vision of the leaders of Canadian astronomy. It will provide a very strong motivation for students to go into the physical sciences."

"One primary thing the Dunlap Institute can do is understand how to use it. We'll have to design specific instruments to collect and record that information. It will provide crucial opportunities to educate students in state-of-the-art technologies."

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original source Toronto Star
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