Fernando Comerón becomes ESO Representative in Chile
2. april 2013
Yesterday, 1 April 2013, European Southern Observatory (ESO) astronomer Fernando Comerón became ESO’s new Representative in Chile. He replaces Massimo Tarenghi, who has been ESO Representative since 2008.
“I’d like to build on the deep relationship of trust and mutual benefit that ESO has developed with Chile throughout the years. This relationship and collaboration is a key element in understanding the impressive growth that both European and Chilean astronomy have experienced in these last decades. One of my immediate goals will be to nurture and develop this relationship even further in this very special year for ESO and Chile, as we celebrate 50 years of ESO’s presence in Chile”, said Comerón.
Fernando Comerón began his career as a professional astronomer in 1988, when he obtained his Bachelor in Physics from the University of Barcelona. Four years later, he was made Doctor in Physics from the same institution. During his career, Comerón focused his interest and investigation on the study of galactic structures, large scale star formation, very low mass stars and brown dwarfs, stellar kinematics, and the dynamics of the interstellar medium. He has authored over 150 publications in these fields in international professional journals, and he is himself a frequent user of ESO’s observing facilities in Chile.
Comerón, who comes originally from Mataró near Barcelona, worked as a researcher at the University of Barcelona, with extended stays at the Observatoire de Paris–Meudon and the Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona, before starting a career at the ESO in Garching, Germany, in 1995, first as a Postdoctoral fellow and then as a Senior fellow. In 1999, he became staff astronomer. In 2001, he was named Head of the User Support Group of ESO, a post he held until 2006 when he became Head of the ESO Data Management and Operations Division (DMO). During that period the Paranal Observatory reached its maturity, with DMO playing an important role in enabling astronomers worldwide to access the excellent astronomical data delivered by the ESO telescopes.
Massimo Tarenghi continues his involvement with ESO as special advisor to the Director General, to work on various projects for ESO in Chile. Since he joined ESO in 1979, Tarenghi has had several notable achievements, first as Project Scientist and then Project Manager of the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope. He then worked as Project Manager of the New Technology Telescope, which led him to become Project Manager of the Very Large Telescope and then the first Director of the Paranal Observatory. Tarenghi also worked as Director of ALMA from 2003, before being appointed ESO Representative in Chile in 2008.
Adding to his dozens of prizes and titles, Massimo Tarenghi was recently awarded the Tycho Brahe Prize in recognition of his central role in developing the ESO facilities that have resulted in Europeʼs world-leading position in ground-based astronomy. In October 2012 the Chilean Senate recognised Tarenghi’s contribution to the country, as he became the first scientist and first representative of an international organisation in history to be granted honorary Chilean nationality.
The Director General of ESO, Tim de Zeeuw, says: “This is a very special year for ESO and Chile as we celebrate 50 years of ESO's presence in Chile. The tireless efforts of Massimo Tarenghi have strengthened our deep and mutually beneficial relationship with Chile, and have tremendously increased the visibility of our Observatories at government level in the Member States and beyond. I am convinced that Fernando Comerón will continue on this very positive path.”