The Astronomy projects being developed at the European Southern Observatory (ESO), of which Portugal is a member, cover areas almost unexplored by science, such as Interferometry in the infrared with the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) and in the sub-millimeter with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA).
New domains will be open to observation. In parallel, innovative diagnostic tools and techniques are being integrated, as well as new ways of accessing and operating the facilities. The large telescopes in operation, and the ones under construction or being designed (as the European-Extreme Large Telescope, E-ELT), real data collecting machines, require innovative technologies (adaptive optics for example), complex systems and techniques for the data handling, processing and analysis as well as new attitudes in the way astronomers access their own data.
Further to that the use of the “Virtual Observatories” building upon various data banks and data bases, which include data from ground and space observations, also add new dimensions and opportunities. Consequently, the role of Astronomy as a privileged area for multidisciplinary training, across various fields of science and technology, shines out clearly.
The integration of the researchers from a wide range of backgrounds, becomes even more challenging in order to fully prepare them in those new wide fields and to expose and involve them, right from the beginning of their careers, to international collaboration and participation in multinational and multidisciplinary teams.
Teresa Lago (FCUP/CAUP)
Michel Dennefeld (IAP/UPMC)
Paulo Garcia (FEUP/SIM)
Enhancement Programme OPTICON funded under 7th FWP (Seventh Framework Programme)