Matt Mountain (December, 2012)

Coyle Studio

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Dr. Matt Mountain became Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in September 2005 taking over the 500-person institute responsible for the science operations of Hubble Space Telescope, as well as the future mission and science operations of its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope. Dr. Mountain is also the Telescope Scientist for JWST, appointed by NASA in 2002, and a member of the JWST Science Working Group.

Before coming to Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Mountain was the Director of the International Gemini Observatory and led the team that designed, built, and brought into operation the two Gemini telescopes on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and Cerro Pachon, Chile. This multinational program, under the auspices of the National Science Foundation, was tasked with building two infrared optimized 8m astronomical telescopes on two separate continents within a Congressionally mandated fixed budget of $184M.

As an Astrophysicist by training, Dr. Mountain has had a long-standing interest and commitment to exploring the Universe with new capabilities. His research interests have included star formation, advanced infrared instrumentation, and the capabilities of advanced telescopes.  For the last 28 years Matt Mountain has led multidisciplinary teams and organizations that have pushed back the scientific and technical frontiers of observational astrophysics.

Dr. Mountain has published over 100 research papers, articles, and reports. He is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University and visiting Professor at the University of Oxford; fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and a member of the American Astronomical Society, and the International Society for Optical Engineering.

Within the next decade or so, we can for the first time in history of our species, answer that question which has haunted humankind across the millennia, “ARE WE ALONE?
— Matt Mountain, TedX, 2010