Subaru Staff -Part 6-

April 15, 2003

We will introduce the laboratory technicians at Subaru Telescope this month. They are working on development, manufacture, maintenance, and experimental works of the Subaru instruments at the Hilo base facility. Brian Elms, Lucio Ramos, and Yoshiyuki Doi appear in this issue (current as of date).


laboratory technician
Brian Elms

From Massachusetts
Hobby : Lava watching

- What is your official job title at Subaru ?

My title at Subaru telescope is Machinist, but I call myself an Instrument Maker. When someone asks me to build a part, I make sure that the part will do what the person wants it to do. I suggest better designs if necessary. I'll fix everything that breaks.

- What is your work background ?

I started working as a machinist for my father in the mid 70s. I've worked for the Carnegie Observatory in Pasadina California building Instruments for Palomar and Mt. Wilson in California and for the Las Campanas Observatories in chile. I then worked for Princeton University's Astrophysics Department on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey CCD camera. From there I came to Subaru.

- Why did you choose this type of work ?

I enjoy working in a scientific environment. And I like working with my hands. When I was young, I was always in the basement building things, making models. My father is diamond powder metal gist. He makes metal and diamond segments for the stone cutting industry. When I was helping with my father’s work, I found that I enjoyed machining and some experienced people told me I had talent. I like making things that actually do something. I’ve made many things from satellite parts to movies.

- How do you spend your weekend ?

I go to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park every weekend to see the Lava.

- Do you have any advice to the young ?

Go to college and get educated You have to have passion for the work you do. Working at Subaru is challenging So if you don't enjoy what you're doing, you won't last. In machining, little mistakes can have huge consequences. When you're working on your computer and you make a mistake, you can just hit the backup key. Whereas in machining, you make a mistake of a tenth of millimeter and a part will no longer be any good. That can mean hours of even days of work that has to be done again. My job as an Instrument Maker is tough, but the benefits are also great. It’s nice to know that the parts that I have made are in some of the finest instruments in the world. That and working with some of the finest minds of our time makes this job very satisfying.



laboratory technician
Lucio Ramos

From Hawaii Island

- What is your background ?

I worked as a communication and electronics technician in the military for nineteen years. That's where I got most of my electronics background. Before coming to Subaru, I worked at the IRTF (NASA Infrared Telescope Facility) for two years.

- What is your actual job at Subaru telescope ?

My official title is Instrumentation electronics technician. I'm doing the same type of work that I did at the IRTF, but Subaru has many more instruments. I've always liked electronics. I like to take things apart and see how they work and why. I go up to the summit about twice a month as long as everything is ok with the instruments. If there is a problem with an instrument, I need to go to the summit as often as three times a week. So far, everything is good. If I’m not troubleshooting or repairing an instrument, I am at the Hilo base facility building new components for upgrades.

- How do you spend your weekend ?

I spend my weekends with my wife and children. Sometimes I need to go to military training.

- What advice would you give to people who want to find a job like yours ?

My advice to anyone who is looking for this type of job is to know what you want and strive to accomplish it. Do whatever it takes to acquire the necessary experience and education. Go for it. You do not know whether or not you can do something unless you try.



laboratory technician
Yoshiyuki Doi

From Tokyo
Hobbies : Biking and learning Hawaiian culture

- What kind of work did you do before working for Subaru?

I worked on automation in factories. That experience got me the job at Subaru. I was working for a construction company before I came here. I worked with all sorts of things, machines, electrical systems, software and welding at the company. It was a hard job. I make the most of my experiences with my work at Subaru. Also, I’m a local hire, not imported from Japan to work for Subaru.

- What is your job at Subaru ?

I am a mechanical and electrical engineer. My main job is the maintenance of observing instruments. For example, I’m designing and producing updates to Ciao and Sprime-Cam.

- How did you become interested in this type of work ?

I love making machines. I built radios and such when I was in elementary school. So here I am now, an engineer.

- What have you learned from your experience ?

It’s got to be “cool.”

I don't want to build unattractive machines. Well-built machines always look good. A quick look at a machine can tell you if it is well designed and the builder’s aesthetic sense.

- How do you spend your weekend ?

I am interested in Hawaiian culture so, I play the ukulele or practice hula.

- What advice would you give to young people who hope to find a job like yours ?

Pursue whatever it is that interests you. This isn't easy, especially in Japan. If you keep pursuing your interests, a path will open.


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