eso9208 — Organisation Release
Riccardo Giacconi – ESO's Next Director General
10 June 1992
In its 67th meeting in Garching on June 4 and 5, 1992 the Council of ESO appointed Prof. Riccardo Giacconi as Director General for the period 1993-1997. He succeeds Prof. Harry van der Laan whose five year term ends this year.
Prof. Giacconi was born in Genova (Italy) in 1931 and got his education in Physics at the University of Milano, before emigrating to the United States. In his activity he has been associated with several leading institutions including Princeton University, American Science and Engineering, Harvard University and has received many honours for his achievements in science.
Prof. Giacconi is famous for his pioneering work in the development and application of X-ray technologies in astronomy, leading to the discovery of the first extra-solar X-ray source. The X-ray satellites UHURU (launched in 1970) and the Einstein Observatory (launched in 1978) are associated with his name.
Since the establishment of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore in 1981, Prof. Giacconi has been its Director, while holding a professorship at the Johns Hopkins University and, more recently on a part-time basis, also at the University of Milano. The STScI has been central to the Hubble Space Telescope's success in spite of its optical flaw and serves a world-wide community of HST users. At ESO his association with the HST will continue, because ESO Headquarters is the host of the European Coordinating Facility for the HST. The ECF is a joint venture of ESO and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The prime assignment of the new Director General will be the completion of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) Observatory which ESO is constructing with European industry in Chile's Atacama desert, while at the same time operating the world's largest infrared/optical observatory, the La Silla Observatory for the astronomy community in ESO's member states.
ESO EPR Dept