Simons Foundation Gifts UC San Diego Funds to Operate Simons Observatory in Chile to Explore Early Universe
The Simons Foundation of New York is giving UC San Diego $20 million to operate the Simons Observatory, a collection of four telescopes that will be placed in Chile’s Atamaca Desert to explore what the universe was like shortly after the Big Bang.
The gift increases the foundation’s total support for the observatory project to $80 million, making it among the larger philanthropic gifts of its kind.
UCSD and its collaborators are scheduled to begin operating Simons Observatory in September 2022 on a high, remote desert plateau that’s one of the best places in the world to conduct astronomy. It is one of the driest places on the planet and is usually blessed with clear skies.
“In order to actually observe with the observatory, to mine the cosmos of its secrets, we need significant funds to keep the electrical power flowing, keep roads free of snow, perform regular maintenance, send scientists to Chile, and analyze data, among many other costs,” said Brian Keating, a UCSD astrophysicist and the director of the Simons Observatory.
“What this funding means is that we will be supported by the Simons Foundation to exploit the phenomenal technological power of the observatory and accomplish the science goals we are uniquely capable of.”
UCSD has about 250 collaborators, and partnerships with UC Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Flatiron Institute, among others...