30 years of the postgraduate programs in Astrophysics

Santa María Tonantzintla, February 16, 2024. This day the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE), a center coordinated by the National Council of Humanities, Sciences and Technologies (Conahcyt), celebrated 30 years of the postgraduate programs in Astrophysics.

An exhibition made up of photographs, instruments and historical documents was also inaugurated to commemorate the 82nd anniversary of the National Astrophysical Observatory of Tonantzintla (OANTON).

The celebration ceremony was chaired by Dr. David Sánchez de la Llave, in charge of the Office of Affairs of the Directorate of Research and Technological Development of the INAOE, and Dr. Francisco Javier Renero Carrillo, in charge of the Office of Affairs of the Directorate of Academic training.

Dr. José Ramón Valdés Parra, coordinator of Astrophysics at INAOE, welcomed those attending the celebration. He recalled that the first generations of the master's and doctoral students began their studies in 1993. He thanked the authorities of INAOE, and in particular to the staff of the Directorate of Academic Training, for their support. He also thanked the students, “without whom the postgraduate program would be nothing.”

He also recognized all the staff of the Astrophysics Coordination and the Guillermo Haro Astrophysical Observatory of the INAOE in Cananea, “one of the most important laboratories that the graduate students have had.”

He remembered some of the most important people in the history of postgraduate programs such as Alfonso Serrano Pérez Grovas, Paris Pismis, Octavio Cardona, Peter Phillips and Hrant Tovmasyan. He also highlighted Antonio Mampaso, Alejandro Palma, Sandro Bressan, Nicolai Silantiev, Soledad del Río, Elias Brinks, among others.

M. C. José Peña Saint-Martin, researcher at the Institute of Astronomy of the UNAM, one of the precursors of the postgraduate course in Astrophysics at the INAOE, made a brief historical review of the beginning of the postgraduate courses, which dates back to the time when Dr. Jorge Ojeda Castañeda was General Director of  INAOE. He remembered Dr. Ojeda's approach to UNAM in 1985 and highlighted the support that the University gave to INAOE at that time.

For their part, Dr. Elsa Recillas Pismis and Dr. José Guichard Romero, INAOE researchers, referred to the formal beginning of the postgraduate program in 1992 with the arrival of Dr. Alfonso Serrano Pérez Grovas to the direction of the Institute. They recalled the way in which the first study plan was developed.

Dr. Guichard recalled the central role that Dr. Javier Sánchez Mondragón played in obtaining the approval of the Governing Board to the postgraduate course in Astrophysics, as well as his support for the procedures before SEP.

For her part, Dr. Recillas said that one of the strengths of the postgraduate course in Astrophysics since its inception is that it included the branch of astronomical instrumentation.

In turn, Dr. Daniel Rosa González, INAOE researcher, highlighted some relevant data regarding the number of students and graduates in recent years, and stressed the enormous asymmetry in the number of men and women in postgraduate studies. He urged to make efforts so that more women study Astrophysics.

He reported that the graduated students of the postgraduate program work in national and foreign universities, in agencies such as Conahcyt and even in private companies. He stressed that Astrophysics students have access to the best observatories on the planet, such as the Alfonso Serrano Large Millimeter Telescope, the HAWC gamma ray observatory and the Gran Telescopio Canarias.

As part of the ceremony, congratulatory videos from doctors Antonio Mampaso and Luis Aguilar Chiu, who taught at the postgraduate programs a few years ago, were shown. There were also remote congratulations from graduates.

Dr. Abraham Luna Castellanos told anecdotes, remembered Astrophysics students and shared images of various events.

Finally, attendees moved to the Schmidt Camera where an exhibition consisting of photographs, instruments and documents that show part of the historical development of OANTON was inaugurated. The exhibition will be permanent.

Last update:
23-02-2024 / 13:15 by Guadalupe Rivera Loy


Adress: Luis Enrique Erro # 1, Tonantzintla, Puebla, Mexico / Postcode 72840 / Tel: (222) 266.31.00 / Contact: difusion@inaoep.mx

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