Hilton Lewis, W. M. Keck Observatory Director

As Director, Lewis is responsible for the operation and performance of W. M. Keck Observatory with its twin 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes, and for the development of new capabilities. Lewis works closely with the staff, partner institutions, and scientists to ensure the continued success of Keck Observatory and foster the development of its scientific capabilities and overall productivity.

Lewis was recruited in 1986 to lead the design and development of the software that controls Keck Observatory’s twin telescopes. He has held many leadership roles throughout the history of the Observatory, ranging from leading software development to overseeing the full range of technical activities.

Lewis holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cape Town and earned his MBA from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His professional interests include leadership and motivation of high-tech teams, strategic planning, multiple-year plan design, and effective project planning and execution.

Lewis has dedicated his career to building, operating, and updating the most sophisticated ground-based optical/infrared telescopes in the world, a commitment that has contributed to the unprecedented astronomical innovation and forefront science of Keck Observatory.


John O’Meara, W. M. Keck Observatory Chief Scientist
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Peter Wizinowich, W. M. Keck Observatory Chief of Technical Development
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CARA Board of Directors

Board Chair

George R. Blumenthal, Chair
Chancellor Emeritus, University of California at Santa Cruz, Director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education

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Thomas Soifer, Vice-Chair 
Director, Spitzer Science Center, California Institute of Technology

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Board of Directors

Michael Brown
Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, University of California

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Fiona Harrison
Kent and Joyce Kresa Leadership Chair, Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy and Benjamin M. Rosen Professor of Physics at Caltech

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Bruce Macintosh
Director, University of California Observatories (UCO)

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Chris Martin
Director, Caltech Optical Observatories, California Institute of Technology

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Board Liaisons

Hashima Hasan, NASA Liaison
Program Scientist, NASA

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Doug Simons Director
Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii

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T.J. Keck, Keck Representative
W. M. Keck Foundation

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Science Steering Committee

See list of members


Today Keck Observatory is supported by both public funding sources and private philanthropy. As a 501(c)3, the organization is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), whose Board of Directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, with liaisons to the board from NASA and the Keck Foundation.