Professor Massimo Tarenghi, chronologically MPG/ESO project scientist, NTT project manager, VLT programme manager and first Director, ALMA Director and ESO Representative in Chile.
Born in 1945, Massimo was awarded his PhD at the University of Milan in 1970. After post­doc assignments in Milan and Pavia, he became an ESRO Fellow at the Steward Observatory in the USA in 1973, but returned to Europe in 1975. Two years later, on 1 September 1977, he joined the newly established science group at ESO, at the time based in Geneva. This was also shortly after first light of the ESO 3.6-metre telescope, and, with his scientific interests in cos­mology, he became one of the first official users of that telescope.
In 1983, he became project manager for the 3.58-metre NTT, which served as an important test­bed for many of the technologies that were to be fully used at the Very Large Telescope (VLT), includ­ing the active optics system developed by Ray Wilson. In 1989, at first light, the NTT produced the sharpest images of stellar objects ever obtained with a ground-based telescope (0.33 arcsec­onds; Wilson, 1989). At the inauguration of the telescope the following year, Massimo was awarded the title Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana in recognition of his achievements in con­nection with the NTT.