Update from the Managing Director: Turning the Page
By: Federico Ferrini, CTAO Managing Director
The 2019-2020 biennium is without a doubt a crucial period for the CTA project. From the political point of view, we expect the final legal framework (the fabled ERIC) to be in place this year thanks to the official commitment of the members, via the ratification at ministerial level. From the financial point of view, we will adjust and finalize the Cost Book to align with available funding, with the condition that we will maintain excellent science results from the sustainable configuration of telescopes that can be realized. From the technical and scientific point of view, we will prepare and critically revise the system engineering design, and, after more than a decade of development, we will make the final decisions about what will be installed (from telescope structures and cameras, to mirrors and software). From the managerial point of view, we will establish the service structure and overall organization to be prepared to immediately satisfy the requests and needs of the scientific community as soon as we begin operations, ensuring there is no delay in accessing the ground-breaking science that will be produced by CTA infrastructures.
This (and other aspects that I do not quote for brevity) involves dozens of institutions at the highest level, hundreds of persons, requiring loops for convergence, modifications of former engagements, differentiation of resources, redefinition of funding, … All in all, it is the perfect example of a “complex” system that could be best described mathematically by a set of non-linear coupled differential equations. Unfortunately, there are interactions that cannot be unambiguously formulated, due to unpredictable events, unknown hidden inputs, stochastic behaviours of variables. This is an elegant way to say that the situation is a little bit difficult, but not impossible. But as any visionary or champion of progress would say: “Nothing worth doing is easy.”
In the end, the main objective is always crystal clear: to establish the formal/financial/technical framework that will allow us to begin the construction of CTA in 2021. Toward this objective, the CTA Observatory (CTAO) staff is working with the highest dedication.