Case Study Sector
Until the mid-1990s, the last comprehensive study of a large portion of the cosmos was one undertaken in the 1950s by researchers at the Mount Palomar Observatory. This study remained state-of-the-art for forty years, until the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation moved to fund a new astronomical survey unprecedented in its breadth and depth. This "intergalactic census" would be conducted by the nonprofit Astrophysical Research Consortium, a partnership of research universities and laboratories, including the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and teams of researchers from Japan, Germany, and elsewhere. Each would provide manpower and funds, as would the federal government. But the project was initiated with Sloan Foundation funding, and, as evidenced by its name, the Foundation would remain its leading supporter.
SDSS is more than a leap forward in human understanding of the cosmos; for in creating a framework "sky partitioning system," SDSS has laid a foundation for the next generation of astronomical research.
- Northern America