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Minutes of the business meeting of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society.

January 7th, 2004 -- Atlanta, GA

 

Josh Grindlay, the HEAD Chair, opened the meeting by welcoming the HEAD membership. He communicated the results of the HEAD election, namely that the newly-elected Vice-Chair was Steve Murray, and that the three newly elected members of the Executive Committee are Deepto Chakrabarty, Fiona Harrison, and Kim Weaver. Josh thanked the nominating committee (Omer Blaes [chair], Neil Gehrels and Harvey Tananbaum) for putting forth an outstanding slate of candidates. He also thanked the other candidates for standing for election and being willing to serve, and concluded by thanking the outgoing members of the Executive Committee, Omer Blaes, Brenda Dingus and Ramesh Narayan for their service.

Report of the Secretary-Treasurer

Secretary/Treasurer Matthew Baring summarized the membership statistics, noting that HEAD now has approximately 890 members, a very modest increase over the course of the year from around 870. He also reported that HEAD assets have dropped to approximately $20,000, with estimated income for 2003 being around $5,400 ($4,700 in dues, $700 in interest), and the expenses for 2003 were approximately $5,620 ($3,000 awards, $1,420 travel by award winners, $900 EC meeting expenses, $300 copying/mailing/etc.). He indicated that the accounting from the Mt. Tremblant meeting was still unresolved, pending a tax rebate from the Canadian government, leaving uncertainty in whether HEAD had a net expenditure or a net gain for 2003.

Report of the Press Officer

Press Officer Ilana Harrus indicated that there were a large number of press release highlights relating to HEAD science during 2003, and that many of these can be viewed on-line in the November HEAD newsletter at http://www.aas.org/head/headnews/headnews.nov03.html.

Ilana also discussed plans for the Schramm Award, to be given at the upcoming HEAD meeting in New Orleans, and reported on the HEAD Executive Committee's decision to defer opening this up for TV or radio submissions in view of the complexity of reviewing these. It will remain, for now, an award for best published (print) article relating to HEAD science.

Ilana then mentioned the proposition she raised the evening before at the meeting of the HEAD Executive Committee, namely that two updates to the HEAD Web site be made, as helpful information to potential Schramm applicants. These were (1) a detailing of the make-up of the jurors, namely the Press Officer, the two previous Schramm winners, second-year members of the EC, and one member of the press, and (2) a clarification of the science relevant to HEAD that can be discussed in submitted articles.

Report from NASA Headquarters

Paul Hertz, Theme Scientist for the SEU theme within the Astronomy and Physics Division at NASA Headquarters gave an update of recent NASA-related activity, noting that the President is considering the future of human spaceflight and new strategic goals for NASA. Paul addressed the impacts of recovery from the Columbia accident, including a focus on how delays in Shuttle missions lead to a burden of around $10M per month in the HST servicing program. The present OSS plan envisions that the fourth servicing mission for HST will occur no earlier than June 2006, and that given the status of the Shuttle, OSS anticipates an unmanned controlled de-orbit end of mission for HST down the line.

Paul observed that the FY04 NASA budget is still not signed, and will be impacted by several items including the HST deorbit mission development, and delays in Gravity Probe-B, Spitzer/SIRTF and Swift, and also Herschel and Planck adjustments.

The Beyond Einstein program is now an accepted NASA initiative, containing approval for the flagship missions LISA and Constellation-X (Con-X), plus some funding for Einstein Probes beginning in 2007. Paul briefly reviewed the status of the Einstein Observatories LISA and Con-X, and indicated that 10 mission concept studies had been selected for study as Einstein Probe mission concepts.

Paul summarized the status of various high energy missions, noting that HETE-2 had an extension through FY04 approved, that the Swift launch date had been delayed until summer 2004 due to test problems, that GLAST had been confirmed in Phase C/D (New Start), and that NASA had completed the Phase A study of EUSO. Paul listed the SMEX 2003 selected missions for Phase A study, and the target timeline for the MIDEX 2004 announcement of opportunity release. He then concluded with a summary of important NASA meetings/events anticipated for 2004.

Report of the Chair

Josh mentioned activity surrounding preparations for the upcoming HEAD meeting in New Orleans, from September 8-11, 2004, indicating that a First Announcement would be made public soon. He mentioned that Eureka Scientific will be running the meeting, renewing its prior relationship with HEAD meetings, and that Louisiana State University would provide a Local Organizing Committee.

Josh also indicated that he had been approached by the Chair of the Solar Physics Division (SPD) to explore possibilities for SPD joining a joint APS/DAP-HEAD meeting in the Spring of 2006. This matter is to be discussed further by the two organizations (subsequent to the meeting, it was decided this should be postponed since the HEAD-DAP meeting is already a full schedule). Josh indicated that progress had been made in conversations between the APS and HEAD concerning such a joint meeting, with a stated goal of preserving most of HEAD's needs and stylistic preferences concerning meetings. Plans are that the meeting would possess only partial overlap in dates between APS and HEAD sessions.

Chair, Josh Grindlay announced that the 2004 Bruno Rossi prize is being awarded to Harvey Tananbaum and Martin Weisskopf for their vision, dedication, and leadership in the development, testing, and operation of the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Drs. Tananbaum and Weisskopf will be invited to accept this award and deliver invited talks at the San Diego meeting of the AAS in January, 2005.

Other Business

None.

Josh Grindlay concluded the 2002-2003 HEAD term by handing over the Chair to Roger Blandford, who promptly thanked Josh for his service to HEAD. Ex-Chair Josh Grindlay then adjourned the Business Meeting.

These minutes were prepared by Matthew Baring, Secretary-Treasurer, High Energy Astrophysics Division, American Astronomical Society.


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