Spring 2023 Newsletter

Program Updates

LINCC Frameworks Incubators

The LINCC Frameworks Incubators program (or “LINCCubators” as we have come to know it) is designed to accelerate scientific discoveries by partnering scientists with software engineers.

The first call in February 2023 received 13 proposals. Learn more about the awarded incubators. The review committee provides constructive feedback to all unsuccessful teams and encourages them to reapply in future calls. New calls for LINCCubator proposals will be released every four months. This project is supported by the generosity of Eric and Wendy Schmidt by recommendation of the Schmidt Futures program.

Catalyst Fellowship

Now in its first full year of science, the LSSTC Catalyst Fellowship program in LINCC is finally starting to show scientific results after many years of development. Our first cohort of five astrophysics fellows are now settling in at their host institutions and getting their tools ready for the start of Rubin science. They have also started to meet and collaborate with their Mentor Committees, made up of established scientists in the Rubin community whose job it is to make sure our fellows are able to establish themselves and integrate into the project. Preparations are underway to bring our entire Catalyst Fellowship community together in October 2023 for our first LSSTC Catalyst Symposium. We’ve also been hard at work selecting our second cohort of Catalyst Fellows. This year, 50 astrophysicists and 11 social scientists applied to become Catalyst Fellows. There will be five new astrophysics fellows and two new social scientist fellows starting their fellowships in fall 2023.

Summer Student Program

LSSTC and the Enabling Science Committee proudly supported 12 undergraduates and 23 graduate students to attend and participate in the Project Community Workshop 2022 (PCW 2022) in Tucson, Arizona, in August 2022. Both graduate and undergraduate students presented a 30-second pitch at the poster pitch session. The poster pitches were presentations from the students’ research related to LSST/Rubin data. The session was divided into two sessions (Monday and Wednesday). Both sessions were very well attended. LSSTC looks forward to continuing our support to young researchers preparing for the LSST/Rubin science data.

On the first day of PCW 2022, Ron Harris, NOIRLab Machine Shop Director, conducted an interesting and enlightening tour of the NOIRLab Machine Shop for the students. The students were engaged and very excited about the machinery in the lab. After the machine shop tour, the students attended a second tour of the Caris Mirror Lab, conducted by Cathi Duncan, Development Manager.


LSSTC is proud to continue to support LSST science data research and workshops by providing funding for the LSST@Europe5: “Towards LSST Science, Together!” conference to be held in Poreč, Croatia, September 25–29, 2023. We hope you can join us in the historic and picturesque Poreč, a UNESCO heritage site. This meeting will be hybrid, offering in-person and virtual options. Please save the date!

2023 LSSTC/IceCube Childcare Support Program

This pilot program is an LSSTC/IceCube partnership funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation, which provides childcare support grants to cover the added costs of childcare that burden some early career scientists who participate in large scientific collaboration meetings. It aims to increase the inclusion of parents with young children in collaboration meetings and to understand the extent and impact of childcare needs on members of the Rubin LSST and IceCube scientific communities. Applications were invited for the March 2023 IceCube collaboration meeting in Germany and the August 2023 Rubin LSST Project and Community Workshop in Tucson, AZ.  

Board Updates

New Executive Board Members

Three new members joined the LSST Corporation Executive Board in October 2022.

Knut Olsen, NSF NOIRLab

Knut is from NSF NOIRLab and has research interests in the area of stellar populations. Currently, he is particularly interested in looking for evidence for processes of galaxy formation and evolution in the stars contained in nearby galaxies. He is the chair of the Magellanic Clouds subgroup of the Stars, Milky Way, and Local Volume collaboration.

Médéric Boquien, Universidad de Tarapacá – Universidad del Estado

Médéric is an associate professor at Universidad de Tarapacá – Universidad del Estado (Chile). He received his Master’s Degree in Astrophysics in 2004 from Université Paris VI and his PhD from Université Paris VII in 2007. Following his graduation, he moved to the University of Massachusetts to collaborate with Professor Calzetti as a postdoc to investigate star formation in galaxies.

Will Clarkson, University of Michigan-Dearborn

Will is an Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He is the LSST Science Collaborations Coordinator and has served as the chair of the LSST Stars, Milky Way, and Local Volume Collaboration.

New Board Chair and Vice-Chair

Lucas Macri stepped down as LSSTC Executive Board Chair on May 1, 2023. He has taken on a new position with the NOIRLab. LSSTC would like to thank Lucas for his many years of service and dedication to LSSTC.

Michael Wood-Vasey, University of Pittsburgh

Michael has been involved in leading the science planning for supernova science with the Vera C. Rubin Observatory LSST survey for the past 15 years. He has been a member of the Executive Board of the LSST Corporation since 2019 and has served as Vice Chair since 2020. He is currently co-chair of the DESC Computing Committee. Michael previously served as the Scientific Spokesperson for the third generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey project.

Kathryn Johnston, Columbia University

Kathryn Johnston has an undergraduate degree from Cambridge in Mathematics and a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics. She was a postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and junior faculty at Wesleyan University (Connecticut). She joined the Columbia faculty as a tenured professor in July 2006. Kathryn has leadership experience in faculty governance, developing community resources for research, and fostering supportive work environments. Her professional roles at Columbia include serving as chair for the Shared Research Computing Policy Advisory Committee, 2014-2016 (Columbia-wide); the Astronomy Department, 2014-2017; and the Committee on Equity and Diversity, 2019-2022 (within the School of Arts and Sciences).

Staff Updates

Pat Eliason, the former CEO of LSSTC, retired in September 2022. Pat dedicated over 20 years of service to LSSTC and Rubin Observatory.

Dr. Beth Willman joined LSSTC in September 2022 as CEO and Director for Science. We look forward to her leadership.

Andrew Sturner, our new Project Manager, joined LSSTC in February 2023. Andrew spent four years as a Lecture Faculty member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at San Francisco State University. Prior to teaching, Andrew attended Haverford College, and then he went to the University of Colorado Boulder for studies in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, working on magneto physics as a member of NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission science team.