Through the TMT Early-Career Initiative (TECI), TMT partners can engage graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and other junior-level professionals in their projects. TECI helps match people and projects, and is creating an infrastructure that will increase collaboration across the TMT partnership.
The general process is:
TECI works with TMT science, instrument, and operations teams to identify potential projects, which are introduced in the TECI workshop as “Mini-Projects.”
During the workshop, small teams of workshop participants spend about 6-8 hours with Mini-Projects, considering approaches, exploring early ideas, and outlining future steps. Each team spends the majority of its time on one Mini-Project.
At the end of the workshop, teams generate a written summary of their work and decide if they will produce a more detailed white paper and/or propose to collaborate further.
Workshop participants who would like to continue working on the project Mini-Project after the workshop submit a proposal to TECI, and if approved continue working remotely, with coaching from a TECI staff member or TMT project member.
TECI participants may propose to visit or intern at a TMT site, when sufficient progress has been made through remote collaboration. TECI is able to pay for some travel costs to support these visits.
TECI is currently collecting projects from TMT instrument teams, International Science Development Teams (ISDTs), and telescope construction and operations teams. The scope of a project can vary from a couple of weeks to a few months of part-time work.
Below are some examples of the project areas anticipated for the 2018 TECI Workshop. Additional projects will be added and available at the workshop in December 2018.
WFOS project areas:
The Wide Field Field Optical Spectrograph (WFOS), led out of University of California Observatories, will be TMT’s workhorse instrument in dark time and natural seeing. The WFOS team has been making rapid progress on new design options for WFOS, and is eager to engage early-career scientists and engineers from throughout the TMT partnership in their work. WFOS will participate in TECI, and envisions that TECI participants could be involved in the following areas of work:
Fiber focal plane design, testing and evaluation (Testing fiber throughput, Prototyping)
WFOS instrument Support Structure design (Civil engineering design, Seismic analysis and modeling)
Instrument flexure compensation system (Modeling of flexure in rotating structure, Flexure system design and testing)
Mechanical and opto-mechanical design
Optical design (Cameras, Dispersive architecture)
Prototype development and testing (Refractive gratings, Microlens arrays)
Instrument control and observational software
Data calibration software
Operations Project Areas
Template for detailed science cases. TMT’s science goals ultimately will be achieved with specific experiments or observations using different instruments. Each major science area will comprise dozens of narrower experiments with their own observing plan, executed by different PIs. TMT operations must be prepared to support these various detailed science plans, possibly through a multitude of observing modes or staff support. The TMT Project Office seeks a uniform format or template for TMT ISDT members to submit detailed science plans, such that the plans supply needed information for TMT operations planning. In the future, the template could evolve into a format that supports observing proposals and observations, and team demographics for each experiment proposed.
Data archive and pipeline user cases. The TMT Software Group is considering what kinds of data archiving and processing infrastructure TMT should provide to the future TMT users and broader astronomy community. TECI participants will consider and map out possible use cases for the archive and processing pipeline to help inform TMT on what the community priorities are inform the case for building these elements. Compiling multiple use cases will help address questions such as:
How will different astronomers use the archive?
What requirements for the archive would that entail?
What kinds of processed data, and information about processing methods, are important?
What operations (e.g., nightly calibrations, observing or calibration cadences) are required to meet community needs for archived and processed data?
TMT partners interested in including a project in TECI should contact:
Nicholas McConnell – firstname.lastname@example.org
Austin Barnes – email@example.com
Lisa Hunter – firstname.lastname@example.org