May 8 marks the 37th anniversary of the incorporation of IRIS. This is quite an extraordinary milestone. The past 37 years have seen the construction and installation of the Global Seismographic Network, growing out to full global coverage of stations with unprecedented quality. During this time PASSCAL has grown from a modest pool of broadband and active source instruments to what I believe is the largest facility of its kind in the world. And the Data Management Center has grown from a modest operation, dealing with megabytes of data in a brand-new format (SEED!) and delivered on 9-track tapes to a web-services based operation that is, I believe, also the largest academic seismological data center in the world. During this time, we have seen the initiation and growth of the Education and Public Outreach effort, with a truly amazing growth in the breadth and depth of activities, services, and outreach mechanisms – keeping pace and adapting to the unprecedented changes wrought by the widespread use of the internet and smart phones. In the last twenty years, IRIS took on the EarthScope program, building and operating USArray programs like the Transportable Array – programs that were so audacious in their scope that many thought they could not be done. Throughout the 37 years, there have been so many other projects, large and small, that IRIS has completed in support of our community and our science – everything from intern programs to international collaborations that span everything from instrumentation to metadata. And finally, the past 37 years have seen IRIS implement a community-governed consortium model that has been an example for, and the envy of, disciplines across the sciences.
These are all tremendous accomplishments, but even the most successful organizations must adapt and change to survive and thrive. We are no exception to this, and we are taking on the hard work of re-envisioning our future and merging with UNAVCO to create the EarthScope Consortium so we can better support the geophysics community with continued innovation and excellence. Realizing this new organization will require significant work during the next several years, but the reward will be worth it.
Please join me in raising a toast to IRIS’ past 37 years, and we’ll work together and with our colleagues at UNAVCO to build a new consortium that is ready for the next 37 years!
Happy 37th Anniversary, IRIS!