November 7, 2005
Credit: Sarah Anderson, W. M. Keck Observatory
Credit: W. M. Keck Observatory
W. M. Keck Observatory
Facility Engineer Craig Nance models an oxygen unit paid for by the M.R. and Evelyn Hudson Foundation. The grant is the first to allow all summit staff at an astronomical observatory to benefit from the health benefits of supplemental oxygen.
KAMUELA, Hawaii (November 7th, 2005) The W. M. Keck Observatory received a grant of $75,000 from the M.R. and Evelyn Hudson Foundation to improve astronomy research and technology. The grant will support three programs at Keck Observatory: $28,000 for a summit employee breakfast program, $25,000 for a supplemental oxygen program for summit employees, and $22,000 to assist the start-up of the Keck advancement office, including funding a new astronomy lecture series.
“We are grateful to the Trustees of the Hudson Foundation for their generous support of our astronomy research,” said Dr. Frederic Chaffee, director of the Observatory. “The funds provided by the Hudson Foundation directly advance our strategic goals to improve operational efficiency and help us achieve that part of our mission to share our discoveries to inspire the imagination of all.”
Hudson Board Member Dr. C. W. “Wally” Hooser, speaking on behalf of the Foundation reported, “One of Hudson Foundation’s areas of interest is space science and we are convinced that philanthropically investing in the Keck Observatory is a sure long term bet. We believe Keck Observatory will provide fundamental discoveries as profound to human civilization as the building of Alexander the Great’s Library in the fourth century B.C. So much of basic research is like the foundation of a house. You don’t know what the house will look like from the foundation, and yet the foundation is absolutely essential for the house to be a success. The Keck Observatory is building a foundation for all of our futures.”
The Hudson breakfast funds will offer nutritious meals for approximately 50 summit workers to optimize their health and the stamina required to perform in the harsh work environment at the telescopes’ 14,000 foot elevation. Oxygen levels at the summit are only 60% of that at sea level. The oxygen program will provide portable oxygen units for summit workers to use to improve overall work performance and safety. Only recently has the technology been available to develop a compact unit suitable for an individual to use on the job. Keck is the first observatory in the world to make supplemental oxygen available to all its summit workers.
Funds for the new Advancement Office will be used to provide funding for priorities that are essential for the Keck Observatory to develop next generation instrumentation and technologies.
The first Keck telescope began observations in May, 1993. Its twin joined in 1996. Together, the two telescopes are the world’s largest optical and infrared eyes into the Universe, providing astronomers with state-of-the-art technology and instruments to conduct scientific research.
The Observatory employs 124 people and has a 2006 budget of $22,400,000.