02.07.11

IPAC Celebrates 25 Years at Caltech

IPAC staff who were present 25 years ago. Top: Dennis Wittman, John Good, Booth Hartley, Rosanne Scholey, Bob Narron, Sherry Wheelock, Howard McCallon and Diane Marie Engler. Bottom: Tim Conrow, Mary Ellen Barba, Chas Beichman and George Helou. Not photographed: Ron Beck, Rick Ebert, John Fowler, Jack Lampley, Tom Soifer, Iffat Khan and Gwen Johnson.

Written By Rosanne Scholey

Twenty five years ago moving vans were being loaded at the Union Bank, on South Lake Avenue in Pasadena, for the first delivery of "stuff" to the new IPAC Building (Morrisroe Astroscience Laboratory).

The IPAC Library was moved in with 2 1/2 moving vans of green bar paper, output from the IRAS Mission, and the racks on which they hung. I know many people in IPAC wonder why it is called the Library - it was at the time primarily a data library.

We were followed by employees, machines and boxes and boxes and boxes. At the time the computer room was empty awaiting the delivery of the new CDC mainframe computer. Sun workstations were a shared resource, and we were all so proud of our newly acquired PCs. Imaging workstations took up several offices and were something to behold.

IRAS Visitors, including Bill Latter (who is now the deputy director of the NASA Herschel Science Center at IPAC), came to visit and work with their science colleagues.

Back then, few of us had gray hair and we sure did laugh a lot. We decorated our doors during the holidays, had Pot Lucks, birthday parties, smoked in our offices and at meetings, and celebrated just about anything you could imagine.

Speaking for myself, it has been a wild ride, we have done lots, gone thru lots, and seen a lot of changes, but IPAC is, and will remain, a wonderful place with many happy and sad memories. We have lost a few, gained many, and made lasting friendships.

Happy Anniversary to those who also moved in 25 years ago this week.

[Note: the Spitzer Science Center is located within IPAC - the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center - at Caltech in Pasadena, CA]