IPAC Names Tracy Chen the New Task Lead of Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) Science Data System

Dr. Tracy Chen, a member of IPAC since 2009, was appointed the new Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) Science Data System Lead, starting on January 2nd, 2024. She succeeds Dr. Ben Rusholme, who has led the ZTF project at IPAC since 2021. Chen will continue spending half of her time on NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI) Science Affairs Team and a small fraction of her time on NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED).

In her new role, Chen will manage the IPAC ZTF data system team and coordinate with the wider project, including negotiating project deliverables, setting team priorities and schedule, product verification, interfacing with IRSA, and communicating with ZTF users.

Chen obtained her PhD while working on Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) data at the University of California Los Angeles. She came to IPAC as a postdoc, focusing on Planck data and contributing to the construction of the Planck Early Release Compact Source Catalog. Subsequently, she joined the IPAC staff, initially dividing her time between the NASA Exoplanet Archive and NED, later on moving to NED full time, then splitting time again between the NExScI Science Affairs Team and NED.

At NED, Chen has led efforts in using machine learning to identify articles and data relevant to NED (PASP, 134, 1031 [2022]) and has fostered collaboration among multiple data centers and journal publishers to establish a set of best practices for publishing data in the astronomical literature (ApJS, 260, 5 [2022]). Within the NExScI Science Affairs team, she has contributed to various activities, including coordinating the widely attended Sagan Summer Workshop every year, and facilitating both the NASA Keck Telescope Allocation Committee meeting and the selection of the NASA Hubble Fellows.

“I am thrilled about my new role in a project focused on time domain science, a departure from my past decade of work,” said Chen. “The prospect of learning numerous new things excites me, and I'm eager to make my contributions. The data processing pipeline of ZTF is in a mature phase. The next significant step, besides continuing to provide real-time optical follow-up for the remainder of ZTF fourth gravitational wave observing run (O4), will be the ZTF legacy‚éĮhow to preserve and serve the ZTF data in the long term. This will be my primary focus.”

Dr. Ben Rusholme led the ZTF over the past two plus years with distinction and made many valuable contributions to ZTF operations. He will now concentrate on his role as the Chief Engineer at IPAC, as well as being the RAPID project Pipeline Lead and being the system engineer for the Euclid NASA Science Center at IPAC (ENSCI).

ZTF is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. AST-1440341 and AST-2034437 and a collaboration including current partners Caltech, IPAC, the Oskar Klein Center at Stockholm University, the University of Maryland, University of California Berkeley, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, University of Warwick, Ruhr University, Cornell University, Northwestern University and Drexel University. Operations are conducted by COO, IPAC, and UW.

Date: February 15th, 2024
Category: IPAC News
Image Link: tracy_chen.jpeg