The Minutes of the Executive Committee meeting of the High Energy
Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society.
March 31st, 2008 -- Los Angeles, CA
The Executive Committee meeting of the High Energy Astrophysics Division was held on March 31st, 2008 at the Los Angeles HEAD meeting, convening at 12:30PM. Present were Mitch Begelman (chair), Chryssa Kouveliotou (vice-chair), Steve Murray (past-chair), Ann Hornschemeier (secretary-treasurer), Committee members Cole Miller and Ron Remillard and Megan Watzke (press officer). Also attending (in a non-voting capacity) were Kevin Marvel (Executive Officer - AAS), John Vallerga (Eureka Scientific), and Trish Dobson (Conference Connection). Mitch Begelman called the meeting to order.
The following issues were discussed --
The location and time for the next HEAD meeting. It was agreed it should be held in Spring 2010 with dates that do not conflict with religious holidays or other major meetings. The reason for the 2-year gap is the "10 Years of Chandra" and GLAST Symposium that are scheduled for Fall 2009 in conflict with a Fall 2009 HEAD meeting. [Editor's note: the APS DAP meeting, which was one week later than the 2008 HEAD meeting will be held in mid-February 2010 and does not present a conflict]. There was some discussion about venue and it was suggested that a poll be made of those
attending the HEAD meeting [Editor's note: the result of the poll 2
days later was that a resort destination in
"Alaska/Hawaii/Caribbean" is favored by the membership]
Kevin Marvel updated the HEAD Executive Committee about AAS activities. There has been some delay in the release of division financial reports as they were waiting for the 2007 accounts to be closed out. Kevin also discussed the upcoming International Year of Astronomy (2009) and several AAS activities related to it. This includes a project to distribute a large number (up to a million) small telescopes and a traveling image exhibit that would cost $5K per printing. The coordinators of IYA are Stephen Pompea (NOAO, Tucson) and Andrea Schweitzer. HEAD Press Officer Megan Watzke is following up with Pompea regarding how HEAD might get involved.
The HEAD account and budget was also discussed. Ann Hornschemeier reported that there is still a checking account with ~$700 in it and that Christine Jones in her 3-year tenure as secretary-treasurer never wrote a check. Upon consultation with Kelly Clark at the AAS (the incoming CFO for AAS), Ann learned that other divisions have already closed their checkbooks due to the lack of need (bank fees are thus avoided). It was decided that this issue may be revisited at the next HEAD meeting but there is no current urgent need to close the account. Overall, the HEAD investment fared well in 2007 (with a small increase) so it appears that HEAD may go ahead with adding the new PhD thesis prize. Ann also reported that she had worked through the HEAD expenses: the main outlays of HEAD funds are the Schramm, Rossi and soon the new PhD prize. For each of these there is a certificate printing cost and some costs associated with insuring the prize checks (for instance, the Rossi prize certificates cost ~$300 per printing).
There was some brief discussion of the upcoming January 2009 HEAD special sessions at the AAS meeting. Vice-Chair Chryssa Kouveliotou is organizing these sessions with input/advice from the HEAD Executive Committee. Last year (2008) the January AAS HEAD sessions were not particularly well-attended so it was mentioned that some attention be paid to the wider appeal of session ideas. Topics must be finalized by July 2008 for printing in the program, registration, etc.
The status of the upcoming astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey was also discussed. Apparently the grant will arrive at the National Research Council soon, which will permit work to start. It was decided that there should be an announcement sent out to the HEAD membership to remind them to submit comments/suggestions through the NRC's comment website [Editor's Note: this announcement was emailed out during the HEAD meeting].
There will be an election this fall for three new HEAD Executive Committee members. Mitch Begelman will be naming a nominating committee over the summer (a chair plus two members) to nominate candidate EC members).
As there were no further items, the meeting was adjourned.
These minutes were prepared by Ann Hornschemeier,
Secretary-Treasurer, High Energy Astrophysics Division,
American Astronomical Society.