A Star Director

Lisa Storrie-Lombardi joins the campus community as the head of Las Cumbres Observatory

Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO), based in Goleta, boasts a robotic network of telescopes around the world — and a science team composed almost entirely of UC Santa Barbara researchers. The institutions aren’t formally associated, but some of the observatory’s staff scientists have affiliations with the university.

And they now have a new leader.

Lisa Storrie-Lombardi has been named LCO’s next president and director. She comes to the observatory from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she served as project manager for the Spitzer Space Telescope and NuSTAR since 2016 and as head of the Astronomy and Physics Directorate Operating Missions Office since 2017.

“I look forward to working with Lisa to ensure the continued science successes enabled by LCO’s unique global network of telescopes,” said Professor Lars Bildsten, director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara and chairman of the LCO board of directors. “We are well positioned for new discoveries in the rapidly evolving field of time domain astrophysics, and Lisa’s leadership will make it happen.”

Storrie-Lombardi takes over from Todd Boroson, director of LCO since August of 2013. During his tenure, he oversaw the development of the global network of telescopes. “I am so pleased that we have been able to attract Lisa to lead the observatory and the organization,” Boroson said. “I cannot imagine anyone better suited to take this unique facility through the next stage of its development and success.”

Technologist Wayne Rosing is the founder of Las Cumbres Observatory and his vision for the organization has become reality: LCO is a unique global telescope network that offers rapid follow-up of astronomical events and 24-hour coverage of important objects in the night sky. “LCO’s global telescope network is designed to be the preeminent facility for follow-up observations in the coming era of time domain astronomy,” said Rosing. “We are thrilled to have Lisa as leader and director for the exciting work that lies ahead.”

Las Cumbres Observatory is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to advancing worldwide understanding of the universe through science with its global network of full robotic optical telescopes. LCO began its mission in 2005 and has been operating a global network continuously since May of 2014. The network currently consists of twenty-two telescopes, located at seven sites of high astronomical quality, which together serve as a single integrated observatory. The observatory is leading the future of time domain astronomy with observations that capitalize on the network’s unique capabilities.

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