Brian Gerke

 

I am an astrophysicist working primarily in the realm of optical astronomy. Currently, I am a postdoctoral Research Associate at SLAC on the Dark Energy Survey (DES) project, which will use a new camera on the 4-meter Blanco telescope in Chile to survey a very large region of the Southern sky with the goal of addressing the mystery of Dark Energy. Although SLAC's role in DES is relatively small, it is reasonable to think of this project as a precursor to LSST, a project of which I am also a member and in which SLAC will take a leading role. As SLAC PPA continues to broaden its involvement astrophysics, it will be important for the makeup of the SLUO executive to reflect this.

SLUO has important roles to play in representing the interests of SLAC users both on the SLAC site and in the wider world. I have been active in both of these areas as a SLAC user, and I hope to continue these efforts in a more formal role on the SLUO executive committee. On site, I am interested in finding ways to improve the basic user experience. I have been involved informally in discussions of easy ways to improve the safety and convenience of getting to and from the site without a car (either by bicycle or by shuttle), and I hope to continue working to find simple improvements to facilities that can significantly enhance the experience of users while they are either physically or virtually at SLAC.

Beyond the SLAC site, I am very interested in helping represent SLUOs interests to the federal government. Especially in these times of uncertain budgets, it is essential that we as high-energy physicists take an active role in promoting national investment in basic research. For the past two years, I have been involved in the annual trip to Washington, DC, organized by the users' organizations of SLAC, Fermilab and the US LHC users; and this year I am serving a co-coordinator of the SLAC team. As a member of the SLUO executive committee, I would work to ensure that this effort continues beyond the annual trip and that all SLUO members have access to the resources and information they need to productively engage their federal representatives.