East Hawaii News

Leadership Change Coming at Keck Observatory

March 3, 2014, 12:23 PM HST
* Updated March 3, 1:37 PM
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A software engineer who has been with the W.M. Keck Observatory since its inception has been named the observatory’s interim director.

Hilton A. Lewis joined the Keck team in 1986 to lead the design and development of the computer systems that would eventually guide the observatory’s twin 10-meter telescopes located atop the Big Island’s Mauna Kea.

He has also served since 2002 as Keck’s deputy director.

Keck’s board of directors today announced the interim appointment, which will take effect in mid-May.

“The board deeply appreciates Hilton’s willingness to step up and agree to lead the Observatory,” said Edward M. Stolper, chairman of the board and interim president of the California Institute of Technology, also known as Caltech.

“We have great confidence that under his leadership the Keck Observatory will continue at its current high level of performance with no interruption of new and exciting scientific breakthroughs.” Stolper said.

Outgoing Keck Director Taft Armandroff. Courtesy photo.

Outgoing Keck Director Taft Armandroff. Courtesy photo.

Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and a master’s degree from the University of Hawaii.

Keck’s current director, Taft Armandroff, announced in January he would become director of the McDonald Observatory, a research unit of the University of Texas at Austin, where he will also become a professor of astronomy.

Armandroff, who joined Keck in 2006, will assume his new post on June 1.

Keck officials said a search committee is being formed to find a permanent director.

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