Dr. Terry D. Oswalt, an astronomer, is Head of the Department of Physics and Space Sciences and Associate Provost for Research at Florida Institute of Technology. He has also served the U.S. National Science Foundation as program officer for Stellar Astronomy and Astrophysics. He earned his Ph.D. in Astronomy at The Ohio State University specializing in photoelectric and spectroscopic studies of binary star systems, late stages of stellar evolution, minor planets, and comets.
Since coming to Florida Tech in 1982, Dr. Oswalt has taught astronomy and physics, while continuing his primary research interest in studies of collapsed stars called white dwarfs. Because such objects are very faint, this work often takes him to Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, and Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii, where telescopes as large as 10-meters are available on a competitive basis to scientists.
Oswalt is the founding Chairman of the Southeast Association for Research in Astronomy, a consortium of 10 universities which operates an automated 1-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona. In 2007 SARA will assume operations of a similar telescope at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile. Oswalt also has been director of the SARA summer internship program, which brings undergraduate students from around the U.S. to the SARA facility at Kitt Peak each summer to do research in astronomy. Dr. Oswalt has written over 100 scientific articles and edits the I.A.P.P.P. Communications, an international journal for advanced amateurs, students, teachers and professionals who collaborate on research and educational projects in astronomy. He is also the editor for a three-volume set of Springer books, "The Future of Small Telescopes in the New Millennium".
Linda French earned her A. B. degree in astronomy from Indiana University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in planetary astronomy from Cornell University. She has been a member of the Illinois Wesleyan faculty since 2002, where she is currently Chair of the Physics Department. Dr. French has served as Education Officer and as Secretary of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society. Her primary astronomical research focuses on the physical properties of primitive Solar System objects such as distant asteroids and comets. She has a particular interest in the nature and provenance of the Jovian Trojan asteroids. Dr. French is a frequent observer at telescopes around the world and involves undergraduate students in her research.
Dr. Kalas is an Associate Adjunct Professor in UC Berkeley's Department of Astronomy since 2000. Previously he was a postdoctoral scholar at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. He received his Ph.D. in 1996 from the University of Hawaii, conducting a survey for dusty debris disks with one of the first stellar coronagraphs ever made. He continues to use state-of-the-art, high-contrast imaging instruments for the direct detection of planetary systems around nearby stars. Using ground-based coronagraphy and the Hubble Space Telescope he has discovered several dusty debris disks as well as Fomalhaut b, which earned recognition as one of the most important scientific discoveries of 2008. He is also a lead co-investigator of the Gemini Planet Imager science team, founded the Spirit of Lyot conference series, and developed the first comprehensive course on science ethics for graduate students in astronomy.