Seen Around SLAC: Fermi Telescope Model Flies Over Kavli Lobby

By Lori Ann White
October 26, 2011

A half-sized Fermi space telescope model, originally launched from SLAC's booth at the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis, last year in New Orleans, has settled into a new orbit above the downstairs foyer at the Kavli Auditorium.

SLAC Scientific Computing staffer Tofigh Azemoon, who is currently working on the design of the control systems for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope's giant camera, remembers many evenings and weekends spent researching, designing and building the model. "It took quite a bit of work," Azemoon admitted. "More that I thought it would."

But Azemoon is a physicist with an artistic bent – or perhaps an artist with a scientific bent. In addition to his contributions to the design and construction of SLAC's booths for the supercomputing conferences – the next one debuts in mid-November in Seattle – he's also an accomplished painter in a variety of media, skilled in portraits and still-life painting, and he wanted to make sure his portrait of Fermi remained faithful to the original.

Except for the weight, of course."The whole thing weighs about 100 pounds," Azemoon said of the model, while the actual Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope tips the scale at nearly five tons.

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Tofigh Azemoon sitting in front of Fermi telescope model hung in Kavli. Tofigh Azemoon with his half-sized model of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope
Tofigh Azemoon, currently one of the designers at work on the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope's camera control system, built the half-sized model of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope hanging above him for the SLAC booth at a supercomputing conference. Now it's hanging in the Kavli Building, among many of the people who made the original such a success. (Photo by Matt Beardsley)
half-sized Fermi telescope model hovers over visitors
A model of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The half-sized model, originally constructed as part of a SLAC booth at a supercomputing conference, has been relocated to the Kavli Building, where many of the people who built its Large Area Telescope still work. (Photo by Matt Beardsley)