Minutes of the Executive Committee meeting of the
High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society.
January 8th, 2002 -- Washington, DC
The executive committee meeting of the High Energy Astrophysics
Division was held on January 8th, 2002, at the Washington, DC AAS
meeting, convening at 6.30pm. Present were Alice Harding (chair), Josh
Grindlay (vice-chair), Matthew Baring (secretary-treasurer), Vicki
Kaspi, Greg Madejski, John Nousek, Lynn Cominsky (press officer), and
Vice-Chair Elect (non-voting) Roger Blandford.
Alice Harding called the meeting to order.
Secretary/Treasurer Matthew Baring communicated the results of the HEAD
election, namely that Roger Blandford was elected to the office of
Vice-Chair, Matthew Baring was elected unopposed to the office of
Secretary/Treasurer, and the three newly elected members of the
Executive Committee are Omer Blaes, Brenda Dingus and Ramesh Narayan.
261 HEAD members voted including 15 paper ballots. Alice thanked the
nominating committee (Christine Jones, Peter Meszaros and Lars
Bildsten) for putting forth an outstanding slate of candidates. She
also thanked the other candidates for standing for election and being
willing to serve.
Matthew Baring delivered the secretary-treasurer's report. He
summarized the membership statistics, noting that HEAD now has
approximately 800 members, a slow increase over the course of the year
from around 700. He also reported that HEAD assets have increased to
approximately $26,000, with income for 2001 being around $5,800 ($4,600
in dues, $1,200 in interest), and the expenses for 2001 were
approximately $3,000 ($1,500 for awards, $900 travel by award winners,
$400 for Executive Committee meeting expenses, and around $200 for
copying/mailing/etc.). Hence the net income for 2001 was approximately
$2,800, subject to final AAS audit.
The timing of the presentation of the award was discussed, with a
decision to retain the current policy of presenting awards at HEAD
meetings. Press Officer, Lynn Cominsky suggested increasing the award
amount from the current amount of $1000 to $1500 after the Albuquerque
meeting, commensurate with the Rossi Prize. While general agreement
with this resolution was attained, no formal decision was reached.
Lynn solicited volunteers to serve on the panel for reviewing Schramm
award applications. Vice-Chair Josh Grindlay proposed that general
members of the HEAD Executive Committee who were serving their second
year should automatically serve on the Scramm panel; this proposal was
HEAD Dissertation Prize:
Chair Alice Harding put forward the proposition that there should be a
HEAD Dissertation Prize for theses relating to high energy
astrophysics. Her suggestion was that it would pay for travel by the
recipient to HEAD meetings, the first occasion perhaps being the Mt.
Tremblant meeting in 2003. Varied discussion ensued, including details
such as requiring that candidates must be nominated by their advisors,
and limiting the criteria of eligibility to those whose thesis defense
arise in the 18 months prior to the date of the award. No firm
decisions were made, yet there was general concensus that HEAD should
endow such a Prize. Alice agreed to draft a "manifesto" for such a
Prize to aid further discussion.
Rossi Prize for 2002:
After lengthy discussion and a vote, it was decided that
the 2002 Bruno Rossi prize be awarded to Leon Van Speybroeck for
"his singular contribution to high energy astrophysics leading to the
exquisite image quality produced by the X-ray optics and telescope of
the Chandra X-ray Observatory."
Resignation of Press Officer:
Press Officer Lynn Cominsky announced that she will be resigning after
the Albuquerque meeting, citing a considerable increase in
responsibilities. Considerable regret was expressed at this news, and
heartfelt thanks were offered to Lynn for her tireless efforts and
enthusiasm as Press Officer over the last 5+ years. Vice-Chair Josh
Grindlay offered himself as the contact point for the search for Lynn's
successor; a goal to have a new HEAD Press Officer in place before the
Albuquerque meeting was declared.
Albuquerque HEAD Meeting:
Chair Alice Harding raised the subject of HEAD financial support for
invited speakers from non-US countries. Three such speakers had
requested support, from APS/DAP (Division of Astrophysics) and HEAD.
The matter was discussed, and the Committee voted to offer 50% of local
expenses and registration fees from HEAD finances to each of these
speakers, on the assumption that APS/DAP would provide the other 50%.
Alice also indicated that HEAD had been requested by Judy Franz,
Executive Secretary of the APS, to run a "lunch with the experts" table
or two during the meeting, at the nominal cost of $150/table. Ensuing
discussion led to an agreement that HEAD would organize and sponsor
either 1 or 2 tables. Volunteers will be sought nearer the time. On
the issue of hosting breakfasts for students at the meeting, raised
earlier by Paul Hertz, the Committee decided to think further about it
for future HEAD meetings and opted against organizing them in
Mt. Tremblant HEAD meeting:
Chair Alice Harding and Committee member Vicky Kaspi indicated that
while site selection for the Spring 2003 HEAD meeting was complete, and
the specific dates almost confirmed, the services of a conference
organizing company had yet to be engaged. The Conference Connection,
organizer of past HEAD meetings, declined to run the Mt. Tremblant
meeting for HEAD; hope was expressed that they would consider future
HEAD conferences. Accordingly, Vicky indicated that she has been
securing competitive bids from Montreal-based organizations for
consideration by the Committee. This process is not yet complete.
Alice agreed to generate a pre-registration mailing for the meeting, to
glean numbers of attendees and other pertinent information to aid
The meeting was adjourned.
These minutes were prepared by Matthew Baring,
Secretary-Treasurer, High Energy Astrophysics Division,
American Astronomical Society.