Meet at January AAS meeting to organize a white paper for Astro2010

Hello Sloggers,

Every decade, the National Research Council (under the auspices of the National Academies) convenes a panel to survey the state of astronomy and astrophysics, and to recommend plans and funding priorities for the subsequent decade. The resulting Decadal Survey document has a profound influence on funding of astronomy research at every level. The process for the 2010 decadal survey has begun; Roger Blandford will discuss it at the January 2009 AAS meeting (AAS decadal survey session, Tues, 6 Jan, 8:30am). The National Academies web site hosts a page for the Astro2010 Decadal Survey with more information.

White papers authored by individuals and groups in the astronomical community are a major source of input for the review panel. I would like to lead the effort on a collaborative white paper urging explicit, targeted support for (interdisciplinary) astrostatistics research (perhaps broadened to “astroinformatics” or “astronomical data analysis”). I would like to meet with any of you who would like to co-sign such a white paper, and help author it (as your resources allow). I think the AAS meeting offers a great opportunity for us to meet in person to start fleshing out ideas for the white paper, to be subsequently fleshed out via online interaction.

Here I’d like to discuss when to meet at AAS. Note that some Sloggers are participating in an astrostatistics special session, “Meaning from Surveys and Population Studies”, Monday, 2-3:30pm. In principle, since some of us will already be gathered there, it could make sense to meet afterward somewhere; but there are important prize lectures right afterward that I, for one, would like to hear. Other possibilities include lunch or dinner that day (Monday), or perhaps lunch or dinner the next day, after we’ve all heard Roger Blandford’s presentation on how the survey will work this year.

I have some concrete ideas for the white paper, and I’m sure some of you do, too. But here and now, let’s not get into content; let’s just organize a meeting at AAS.

With that, the floor is open for suggestions on a good meeting time/venue.

  1. TomLoredo:

    Vinay has emailed me off-slog voicing a preference for a Tuesday meeting (after Blandford’s talk), either lunch or dinner. That makes sense to me, too. We could use more input before settling on lunch or dinner. Of course, we are not yet wed to Tuesday, and welcome more input about the date.

    If you’d like to learn more about the AAS schedule before voicing your own preference, take a look at the general block schedule for a “big picture” view of the AAS meeting, or the more detailed scientific sessions schedule that lets you click through to abstracts.

    12-16-2008, 6:25 pm
  2. TomLoredo:

    The National Academies Astro2010 web site now has more information about the survey process and timeline, particularly on their Structure and Timeline page.

    The first phase of the survey includes deliberations by five Science Frontier Panels (SFPs), organized by astronomical subdiscipline:

    Planetary systems and star formation
    Stars and stellar evolution
    The Galactic neighborhood
    Galaxies across cosmic time
    Cosmology and fundamental physics

    The SFPs are the survey bodies that will review Science White Papers (SWPs). The SFPs will deliberate this Spring, and thus the SWP submission window (yet to be finalized) will be in early February, i.e., just a few weeks after AAS. So the AAS meeting really does represent an important opportunity for us to establish the agenda for an astrostat SWP. Please seriously consider participating!

    12-16-2008, 7:08 pm
  3. TomLoredo:

    I’ve contacted some colleagues off-slog about this. Eric Feigelson is interested in this effort and the best time for him is Tuesday, lunchtime. As that works within the few existing constraints, let’s use that as the current working time slot for our white paper “huddle.” Please still chime in here if you’re interested in participating (so I can maintain a list of participants). Consider the time slot to still be under discussion, with Tuesday lunch as our current proposal.

    12-16-2008, 11:13 pm
  4. aptak:

    I am interested in this also.

    12-22-2008, 5:46 pm
  5. vlk:

    Howdy Tom, so is the time settled on Tuesday lunch? (I assume lunchtime for most people is 12:30p, and the place will be determined during the Monday session.)

    01-02-2009, 11:43 pm
  6. Aneta:

    Hi Tom,
    I’m not at AAS but interested in the white paper. Will you be able to summarize the yesterday’s discussion?

    01-07-2009, 5:30 pm
  7. TomLoredo:

    Aneta et al.,

    I’m presently putting together a quick Wiki that will summarize some of the AAS discussion and serve as a virtual meeting point for further collaboration on the White Paper. Anyone wishing to participate or even just to co-sign should email me (acct: loredo, to get on the distribution/discussion list.

    There was an enthusiastic and helpful discussion at our lunch meeting; I also had some useful discussions with NSF and NASA officials afterward. There are far too many arguments and ideas to put in a 7pp White Paper (probably closer to 6 once we list all the authors/signers!), so we have quite a job ahead of us.

    01-12-2009, 9:14 pm
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