Oct. 11-24, 2002
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‘Genius Grant’ winner to speak at Convocation
Family Weekend packed with activities
If you “cannot live without books”
U.Va. changes banks
Town-gown solutions forum
Faculty invited to minority career day talk
Board establishes professorships
Board names buildings
G’day, art lovers
Virginia gets ‘B’ in nat’l report
See with a writer’s eye
For he’s a jolly good fellow
Benefits open enrollment
Another bridge over technology divide
Back to his roots
‘Brain Food:’ Students serve up a most excellent lunch
Who’s minding grandma?
Your right to safety
Hot Link: Faculty experts guide
Exhibits highlight Chinese, European art
College goes to ‘Net for advising, registration processes
New INS rules snare international students
‘The Secret Museum’ to explore pornography
Non-profit fair set for Nov. 13
Student-faculty dinners begin Oct. 17
Michelango‘s art explored on Oct. 24
In Memoriam

Budget cuts implemented
Biggest gift ever
Digest/Daily news about U.Va.
Headlines @ U.Va.

Making every drop count

LBT group offers compromise
15th annual Virginia Festival of Film
A voice for Africa
To our readers -- redesign of IUVA print version
Wylie’s ‘Stillwater’ runs through Oct. 27
Basketball ticket lottery
‘Waltzing the Reaper’
Infrastructure not glamorous but a vital part of bond package

U.Va. will respond to the needs of Native American peoples in Arizona and Virginia. Native American groups have for years voiced concerns about the location of the large binocular telescope on a mountain some consider sacred.

large binocular telescope LBT group offers compromise

Astronomers will study the origins and evolution of the universe. “This is an important step in our effort to become a top astronomy department,” said Robert Rood, chair of U.Va.’s astronomy department.

By Fariss Samarrai

After months of considering the objections by Native American groups to a major telescope project in Arizona, the University announced last week that it has joined a consortium of research institutions involved with the project – the Large Binocular Telescope.

The university will invest about $4 million in the project and will gain seven nights per year of observing time on the LBT and substantial access to several other consortium telescopes worldwide. The LBT is scheduled for completion in 2004 and will be the most powerful telescope in the world.

Report of the Ad-hoc Committee to Advise the Provost on the Mount Graham Telescope Project
September 12, 2002

U.Va. also announced it will respond to the needs of Native American peoples in Arizona and Virginia. Native American groups have for years voiced concerns about the location of the telescope on a mountain some consider sacred.

The LBT Research Consortium includes the University of Arizona, which leads the group; Ohio State University; the University of Notre Dame; and the Research Corp., plus partners in Italy and Germany. The University of Minnesota announced last week that it too will join the consortium, pending approval of its Board of Regents.

U.Va. Vice President and Provost Gene D. Block said, “This has been a difficult decision because of our desire to weigh concerns about the project expressed by Native American groups with our scientific interest in joining with partners on the most powerful telescope ever built. We have concluded that joining the consortium is critical for the future of astronomical research at U.Va. We're hopeful that we can participate in a way that is respectful of the needs and concerns of Native American people.”

The LBT and two smaller telescopes are located on Mount Graham in the Coronado National Forest near Safford, Ariz. The site was selected years ago from a survey of 280 potential mountains. Astronomers will study dark matter, quasars and black holes, how stars form and the origins and evolution of the universe.

“This is an important step in our effort to become a top astronomy department,” said Robert Rood, chair of the U.Va. astronomy department. “Involvement with the LBT will help us recruit outstanding students and faculty and meets our goal of gaining access to some of the world's best telescopes.”

For several years the project has faced objections from environmental groups and from members of the San Carlos Apaches and the White Mountain Tribe of Arizona, who consider the telescope site one of four sacred mountains important to their rituals and religious beliefs. Many of the objections have been directed toward the University of Arizona, which initiated the project several years ago with little involvement from Native American groups.

To address these concerns, Block asked the U.Va. Faculty Senate to appoint an ad hoc advisory committee. It concluded the project is of vital importance to the University of Virginia astronomy program.

The committee also made several recommendations “to change for the better [the consortium universities’] relations with Native American communities.” (The committee’s full recommendations are at www.virginia.edu/topnews/
adhoc_report.html.)

Block said the University has agreed to adopt the recommendations, which include:

n Urging the University of Arizona to create a Native American Advisory Committee to help guide decisions on land use at the Mount Graham site;

n Providing educational and employment opportunities for Native Americans at the observatory and member universities, such as:

n Cultural and educational exchanges for students and faculty with members of the San Carlos and White Mountain tribes;

n Strengthening the University's relationships with Native American peoples in Virginia, particularly with the Monacan Nation;

n Working with the U.S. Forest Service to improve access to Mount Graham by Apache people (the Forest Service manages Mount Graham); and

n Increasing Native American representation at U.Va. by actively recruiting Native American students and faculty and by enhancing scholarly research in Native American Studies.

“As astronomers, we want as little negative impact on the mountain as possible and to ensure that the Apache people have access to the mountaintop,” Rood said.

The LBT will overcome many of the technological and physical barriers that have limited ground-based astronomy. Astronomers say its two giant mirrors – each 27 feet across and positioned side-by-side on a single mount spanning 74 feet – will give a deeper and clearer view of the cosmos than has ever been achieved.

U.Va.’s participation in the consortium is possible through part of a $10 million gift from Frank and Wynnette Levinson of Palo Alto, Calif.

Of the roughly $4 million the University will invest in the project, about $2 million will go toward observation time on the LBT and $2 million to the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory for use of other telescopes.


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