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Richard Schilizzi - the Dwingeloo years.

Submitter: Michael Garrett
Description: Today is Richard Schilizzi's last working day in Dwingeloo before he, and the International SKA Project Office, is fully installed in Manchester. Richard first arrived here in 1976, having just finished his first post-doc at Caltech. In 1984, he was promoted to senior scientist, and served as Head of the Astronomy Group for two terms (in the days when this function rotated). During the 1980s and 90s, Richard focused his energy on VLBI, and in particular, space VLBI (Quasat, IVS, RadioAstron and VSOP). At the same time he was busy building up support for the construction of a dedicated correlator for the European VLBI Network, and was one of the main driving forces in setting up JIVE as the central institute of the EVN.

In 1992, he became the first director of JIVE - from a small core of a few people, the institute soon expanded. The construction of the new building (1996) was largely justified by the need to host the EVN data processor at JIVE, and the new correlator entered operational service in 1999. Without stopping for breath, Richard began to vigorously promote the idea of a real-time "e-VLBI" network, using high-speed optical fibres to connect the European telescopes to JIVE (for the latest results see, for example, AJPoD 14-12-2007).

In 2003, Richard became the first director of the International SKA Project Office. Over the last few years the SKA has advanced by leaps and bounds - at least 2 new SKA pathfinders have emerged (ASKAP and MeerKAT), and both Europe and the USA have been able to secure significant funding (FP6 SKADS, FP7 PrepSKA and TDP). With the SKA listed in the EC's ESFRI list of opportunities, as well as being prominent in many national roadmaps, the project has gathered a momentum all of its own. The images presented above form a random collection of photos charting Richards progress over the last 32 years - the central photo is the Dwingeloo staff photo of ca. 1980 (have fun spotting your colleagues as they were 28 years ago!).

Richard's presence in Dwingeloo will be sorely missed but we expect to see him here often, as a frequent and most welcome visitor!

Copyright: ASTRON
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