n the 1990’s, three groups of astronomers had plans for a big observatory to study millimeter waves from the Universe. The first group was in the United States. Their project was called the MMA (MilliMeter Array). The second group was in Europe, where many countries were already working together in the European Southern Observatory (ESO). They had plans for the LSA (Large Southern Array). The third group was in Japan; they wanted to build the LMSA (Large Millimeter Submillimeter Array). Of course, it made a lot of sense to work together. The Americans and the Europeans signed an agreement on 25 February 2003. A year and a half later, on 14 September 2004, Japan also decided to join the international project. The new name for the observatory was ALMA: the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. A beautiful name: ‘alma’ is the Spanish word for ‘soul’.