In an important development, the Observatory and its senior research staff received formal recognition from the Queen's University of Belfast to supervise QUB MPhil and PhD students. Two students, namely Sandra V. Jeffers and Elena Pérez Pérez, successfully defended their MPhil and PhD theses, the respective titles being ``Collisional Processes in the Inner Solar System'', and ``Dynamic Events in the Solar Atmosphere''.
Simon Jeffery was appointed to serve as Observatory representative on the Court of the University of Ulster, for a 4-year period starting 1 October 2000. Simon succeeds John Butler, who had served in this capacity from 1 October 1996 to 30 September 2000. Mark Bailey was appointed to serve as a member of the Governing Board of the School of Cosmic Physics, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, for the period 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2005.
The Grounds and Meteorological Officer, Shane Kelly, passed the first stage of his Chainsaw course in March 2000. He subsequently also passed his first-aid refresher course.
Mart de Groot (Director of the Observatory from 1976-1994) decided formally to retire from astronomy at the end of September 2000 in order to allow more time to be spent on his pastoral ministry. He will continue to visit the Observatory from time to time, but will not expect to carry out astronomical research.
Michael Smith's new PDRA, Alexander Rosen, began his 3-year contract at the Observatory on 2000 September 1. Dr Rosen arrived from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, USA to work on the PPARC-funded project ``The Origin and Evolution of Protostars: Tracking with Magnetohydrodynamic Numerical Simulations''. Gerry Doyle's new PDRA, Maria S. Madjarska, began her 3-year contract at the Observatory on 2000 October 1. Ms Madjarska recently completed her PhD at the Institute of Astronomy, Sofia, Bulgaria, and is working on the PPARC-funded project ``New Insights into Transition Region Dynamics: Observations versus Numerical Modelling''.
Two PhD students arrived at the Observatory during September 2000, namely Ms Monica Apostoliceanu, from Romania, who is working on solar physics under the supervision of Gerry Doyle; and Mr Georgi Pavlovski, from Belarus, who is working on theoretical aspects of star formation under the supervision of Michael Smith. An MPhil student, Ms Ana Maria García Suarez, was also appointed during the year to work on a tree-ring project (``The Influence of Climatic Variables on Tree-Ring Widths of Different Species'') in collaboration with Professor Mike Baillie (QUB).
Four new staff, namely Deirdre McCabe, Brenda Morrow, Mark Emerson and Kieran Hickey, were recruited during 2000 to work on the historic meteorological records and climate archive. The four Meteorology Project staff, who are supervised primarily by John Butler and Martin Murphy, have offices in the refurbished Observatory Bungalow.
Finally, Kate Leer, an AO employed by the Armagh Planetarium, provided temporary cover at the Observatory during Aileen McKee's absence on Maternity Leave from the end of December 2000 to the end of April 2001.
The staff position at the Armagh Observatory on 31 December 2000 is shown in Appendix A. Individuals are identified by their 3-letter (sometimes 2 or 4) Starlink computer username (full e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org), together with their job-title and an indication of their principal function in the Observatory. It is noteworthy that a very high proportion of Observatory staff are involved in core research and support activities, the entire administration being supported by less than three staff (mc, ambn, lfy), one of whom (lfy) is shared equally with the Planetarium. Figure 2 shows members of staff present for the staff photograph during summer 2000.