GeminiFocus July 2017 | Page 3

Markus Kissler-Patig Director’s Message A Fond Farewell, and New Leadership Ahead Serving as Gemini Observatory’s Director is exhilarating, and five years have gone by in a blink. Now, my first term is coming to an end this month. Despite the exciting work ahead, private reasons have pushed me to decline a generous offer from AURA for a second term. It is hence time for a short flashback and a change of leadership at Gemini. Looking back five years, Gemini struggled to finalize the delivery of several instruments and move into a more steady state operations phase. It was also confronted with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Gemini partnership at the end of 2012 (the original Brexit!) and the associated 25% reduction in income. In 2012, together with the Gemini leadership team, we set out to find creative ways to make Gemini an appealing and ingenious observatory running on a significantly reduced budget. It took a lot of ideas, hard work, and difficult decisions to give Gemini a new flavor… and I believe that we have succeeded. The Gemini of today is a very attractive, agile, and innovative observatory. Both telescopes are now equipped with four instruments and an adaptive optics system; furthermore, our invitation for visitor instruments turned out to be much more successful than expected; we currently have a dozen visitor instruments in the queue. We also introduced two new proposal modes: the Large and Long programs, which have been very popular as they allow ambitious projects; and the Fast Turnaround mode, which is widely used for small projects profiting from delivering data only weeks after concept. July 2017 GeminiFocus 1