Dr. Taft Armandroff, Observatory Director
W. M. Keck Observatory
Taft E. Armandroff is Director of the W. M. Keck Observatory. At the helm of operating one of the world’s leading astronomical research facilities, his priorities are to advance the scientific objectives of the Observatory, strategically plan with the broad astronomical community, and develop resources that will sustain Keck Observatory’s role at the forefront of astronomy for decades to come.
A 1982 graduate of Wesleyan University, Armandroff holds a B.A. in astronomy with high honors. He continued his studies at Yale University, earning an M.S., M. Phil., and Ph.D. in astronomy. As primary author or co-author of 41 refereed journal articles and review papers, he is a widely respected research astronomer in dwarf spheroidal galaxies, stellar populations in the Milky Way galaxy and nearby galaxies, globular clusters, chemical evolution of galaxies, and dark matter.
Prior to joining Keck Observatory in 2006, he worked for 19 years at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) in Tucson, Arizona, holding positions of Associate Director and Director of the NOAO Gemini Science Center. In that capacity, he spearheaded U.S. contributions to and scientific use of the international twin Gemini telescopes in Hawaii and Chile.
A distinguished leader of many instrument development projects in wide-field optical imaging, multi-object spectroscopy and infrared spectroscopy, he is a passionate advocate for new technologies that will assist astronomers in their quest to understand the Universe.
Hilton Lewis, Observatory Deputy Director
W. M. Keck Observatory
Hilton Lewis is the Deputy Director of the W. M. Keck Observatory. He has held many leadership roles throughout the history of the Observatory, ranging from software development to managing the engineering division to overseeing the full range of technical activities required to develop and operate this world-leading research facility.
Lewis holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cape Town and earned his MBA from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.
Lewis was recruited in 1986 to lead the design and development of the software that controls the Keck Observatory’s twin, 10-meter telescopes. He then took over management of all software, mechanical and electronic engineering at the Observatory before being promoted to Deputy Director in 2002 with overall responsibility for all technical activities.
Today, in addition to his engineering leadership role, Lewis leads the annual and multi-year planning and resource allocation efforts. 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 the W. M. Keck Observatory.