Richard F. Caris, a friend and enthusiastic supporter of the LSST project, died on August 9th at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 81.
Richard’s $2.3 million gift to the LSST Corporation marked the first philanthropic support of the novel 8.4-meter diameter primary and tertiary (M1M3) mirror for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and enabled the purchase of the special high-purity glass. This was the first of four phases in an effort to design, cast, polish, and integrate the mirror into the LSST mirror support cell. In 2008, Richard and his family attended the High Fire event and truly loved being part of the project and that event. The M1M3 mirror is now complete. Richard was attracted to the LSST because of its engineering and scientific novelty. He saw his support as enabling a New Sky for the next generation of curious minds.
Richard was also an early member of the LSST Corporation Board and was an advisor during the formative years of the LSST project. Richard founded Interface Inc., a world leader in force measurement solutions, including custom load cells for large telescope mirror support systems. He became involved with astronomy in Arizona when his company provided load cells for the Large Binocular Telescope. Intrigued with the UA Steward Observatory astronomy department and mirror lab, Richard first became interested in the proposed LSST and its search for Near Earth Objects. He later was drawn to its mission to probe Dark Matter and Dark Energy. In the fall of 2015, the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory Mirror Lab was renamed in his honor. View the tribute from the University of Arizona.
Image: Richard Caris (center) with Victor Krabbendam (LSST Project Manager) and Buell Jannuzi (Director of Steward Observatory).