“Bulletin Board”

 IPM - July 17, 2021

A Response to a Report by Richard Stone about the Completion of the Iranian National Observatory

 A report by Richard Stone about the completion of the Iranian National Observatory has been published in Science Magazine in July 12, 2021:


In the following, please find the response of the Iranian National Observatory International Advisory Board.

Dear Editor,

We have supported the effort to design, build, create, and commission the 3.4m telescope at the Iranian National Observatory for some years as the International Advisory Board. Many people contributed to this project to move it from dream into development, including those interviewed and credited in Science's article. We value their contributions. We have no comment or opinion on the political comments made in the article.

We would like to emphasize that the article undervalues the impressive dedicated and creative work of the local team who have designed, largely completed building, and are bringing into first light and commissioning what will be a state of the art facility. This is under the current leadership of Habib Khosroshahi. The INO team have developed what independent external review confirms to be an excellent telescope, dome, infrastructure and observatory.

The telescope has been designed by INO engineers, with initial supervision from an expert Swedish team. The INO team mastered the detailed design and supervised construction by local industry. In 2017, a full review was conducted independently by a team of a dozen scientists, experts, observatory directors and European Southern Observatory (ESO) engineers. The design was then frozen for construction.

Creating the first national example of an international-quality research facility is ambitious in the best of circumstances, with schedule and cost challenges being the norm as work is done to maintain high quality. The INO project team have worked in the difficult circumstances of Iran's economy in recent years and, of course, COVID-19.

They have earned considerable credit and respect.

We remain confident that the Iranian National Observatory will deliver a timely research capability, which will support the research excellence of Iranian scientists and interested international collaborators.

The Iranian National Observatory International Advisory Board
Gerry Gilmore (chair, U.K.)
Pedro Alvarez (Canary Islands)
Martin Cullum (Germany)
Colin Cunningham (U.K.)
Piero Salinari (Italy)
Lorenzo Zago (Switzerland)
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