The Large Binocular Telescope Observatory is pleased to welcome Dr. Sam Ragland as the Observatory’s new Adaptive Optics Head. In his new role, Sam is responsible for managing the operations of LBT’s existing AO systems and leading the development of new AO initiatives to enhance the scientific productivity of the telescope. Sam’s first day on the job was June 12.
Prior to joining LBTO, Sam was Senior Adaptive Optics Scientist at the W. M. Keck Observatory. He earned a Ph.D. in Physics from Physical Research Laboratory in India and held postdoctoral appointments at Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, and Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
At Keck Sam held staff and leadership roles with the Keck Interferometer prior to shifting his focus to adaptive optics. He has an extensive record of accomplishment in astronomical instrumentation and its applications, reflected in publications and grant funding.
“Sam Ragland brings a very high level of expertise that will be important for enabling the Large Binocular Telescope to remain at the forefront of astronomical research into the future,” said Joseph Shields, LBTO Director. “His leadership of our AO efforts will place the Observatory in a strong position to continue its trajectory of discovery driven by innovation.”
The Large Binocular Telescope on Mt. Graham, Arizona, features two 8.4m-diameter mirrors on a single mount and two adaptive secondaries making it the first adaptive telescope of the 8m class. The LBTO has a record of innovation in high-angular-resolution astronomy, leveraging new adaptive optics technologies and the telescope’s 23-meter optical baseline. With these attributes, the facility can be considered the first of the new generation of Extremely Large Telescopes.