(SEATTLE TIMES) — At the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society last week, the booth devoted to a revolutionary new telescope called the LSST got a lot of traffic.
Staffed by scientists from the University of Washington and other institutions, the display didn't feature sexy pictures of galaxies or nebulae, but it did include a sign that said LSST is hiring.
That was welcome news in a field where jobs can be hard to come by. It's also proof that after decades of planning and fundraising, a dream nurtured in part by UW and backed by Seattle billionaires is well on its way to reality.
Advertisement - story continues below
On Saturday in Tuscon, Ariz., former Microsoft executive Charles Simonyi joined other luminaries to celebrate completion of the telescope's 20-ton mirror assembly, which includes the largest convex mirror ever made. Simonyi, who has twice visited the International Space Station as a tourist, put up $20 million for the mirror. His former boss Bill Gates chipped in $10 million.
Construction of the $700 million telescope will begin in earnest this spring on a mountaintop in Chile's Atacama Desert.