FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2022
***Contact details appear below***
Flagstaff, AZ. – Lowell Observatory has appointed Dr. Amanda Bosh to the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer and Dr. Christoph Keller to the reclassified position of Director of Science. The moves headline a restructuring of Lowell’s executive leadership that was implemented in response to rapid organizational growth.
Department heads at the Observatory had previously been designated as deputy directors. For mission-specific departments, these positions are now classified as directors—Director of Science (Keller), Director of Technology (Dr. Kyler Kuehn), and Director of Education (Samantha Gorney). For the support departments, the new titles are Chief Financial Officer (Anne LaBruzzo), Chief Philanthropy Office (Lisa Actor), and Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer (Dr. Danielle Adams).
Another reclassification involves changing the title of Observatory head Dr. Jeffrey Hall from Director to Executive Director. This move is directly connected with the creation of the Chief Operating Officer position that Bosh has assumed. She will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Observatory, allowing Hall to devote most of his time to long-range strategic planning, fundraising, and astronomical community service.
Hall said of the restructuring, “The executive-level restructuring is important as we continue to grow as an institution. It is meant to clearly define the scope of our leadership roles. This is all driven by our desire to provide an optimal work environment for our employees.”
Bosh’s affiliation with Lowell Observatory dates back to 1986, when as an undergraduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), she participated in an astronomy field camp at Lowell. Bosh said, “With that first visit, I knew I wanted to work at Lowell. I fell in love with the place, the area, the people.”
Since then, Bosh has worked at Lowell as a postdoctoral fellow, an assistant research scientist, and most recently as the Observatory Operations Manager. Her career has included such highlights as the first direct detection of Pluto’s atmosphere in 1988, studies of Saturn’s rings, and the discovery of a tenuous ring around the centaur Chiron. Before returning to Lowell in 2020, Bosh was a Senior Lecturer at MIT in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, teaching observational astronomy to a new generation of astronomers and scientists. She has been a member of many non-profit boards and brings prior experience in strategic planning.
Keller might be new to Lowell Observatory, but with more than 30 years of research experience, he is well established in the field of astronomy. He began his scientific career studying the Sun at ETH Zurich in his home country, Switzerland. He later spent a decade at the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, where he pioneered a technique for measuring the polarization of light waves with extreme accuracy, and he also led the effort to build the SOLIS VSM instrument, which measures the strength and direction of solar magnetic fields.
For the past seventeen years, Keller worked as a professor in the Netherlands at Leiden and Utrecht universities, where his research shifted to developing new methods for characterizing exoplanets and planetary atmospheres.
In addition to his research, Keller has a strong background in observatory management, project implementation, and scientific planning and direction. This experience will be critical to his work at Lowell. Hall said, “Christoph’s expertise will be invaluable as we plan the next decade of science and technology programs at Lowell.”
Keller’s term as Director of Science is five years. He is also a tenured astronomer at Lowell, a position with no specified end date. He said, “My job is to provide an inspiring environment where outstanding scientific achievements can be made and young researchers can advance their careers.”
As science team lead, Keller takes over for Dr. Michael West, who had stayed in the position well past his anticipated duration in order to keep the science program going strong through the COVID era.
About Lowell Observatory
Lowell Observatory is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) research institution, founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell atop Mars Hill in Flagstaff, Arizona. The Observatory has been the site of many important discoveries, including the first detection of large recessional velocities (redshift) of galaxies by Vesto Slipher in 1912-1914 (a result that led ultimately to the realization that the universe is expanding), and the discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. Today, the Observatory’s 14 tenured astronomers use ground-based telescopes around the world, telescopes in space, and NASA planetary spacecraft to conduct research in diverse areas of astronomy and planetary science. Lowell Observatory currently operates multiple research instruments at its Anderson Mesa station, east of Flagstaff, and the 4.3-meter Lowell Discovery Telescope near Happy Jack, Arizona. Prior to the pandemic, the observatory also welcomed more than 100,000 guests per year to its Mars Hill campus in Flagstaff, Arizona, for a variety of educational experiences, including historical tours, science presentations, and telescope viewing.
Kevin Schindler, Lowell Observatory PIO