Michael West is Director of the Maria Mitchell Observatory, named for the first woman astronomer in the United States and located on the picturesque island of Nantucket. He obtained his PhD in astronomy from Yale University in 1987 and has held positions around the world, including as ESO’s Head of Science in Chile, Head of Science Operations at the Gemini South telescope, and a tenured professor at the University of Hawaii. Michael’s research interests include the formation and evolution of galaxies, galaxy clusters, globular clusters, and the large-scale structure of the universe.
Public outreach is one of Michael’s passions. He served as chief astronomy content developer for the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, a $28 million NASA-funded science center that opened in 2006. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Sky & Telescope, Astronomy magazine, and more. In 2005, he authored a prize-winning book titled A Gentle Rain of Starlight: The Story of Astronomy on Mauna Kea and his new book, A Sky Wonderful with Stars: 50 Years of Modern Astronomy on Maunakea, will be published by the University of Hawaii Press in July 2015.
Michael will become the new Deputy Director for Science at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ starting August 2015, and can normally be found tweeting at @ACKstronomy.