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

January 9th, 2006 -- Washington DC

 

The executive committee meeting of the High Energy Astrophysics Division was held on January 9th, 2006 at the Washington DC AAS meeting, convening at 7.00pm. Present were Roger Blandford (chair), Christine Jones(secretary-treasurer), Steve Murray (vice chair), Deepto Chakrabarty, Josh Grindlay (ex-chair), Rita Sambruno, Ilana Harrus (press secretary), Kim Weaver, and Bryan Gaensler. Roger Blandford called the meeting to order.

The following issues were discussed --

HEAD-AAS web site: Ilana led a discussion of the need to redesign the HEAD web site and agreed to look at other web sites and circulate suggestions/plans to the executive committee. The actually updating of the website will be done at SAO under Christine's supervision with the aid of an undergraduate student. We also will ask the AAS office if the website needs to be kept on the AAS computer or it the new HEAD site can be kept at the home of the secretary-treasurer and linked to the AAS site.

Roger and Steve agreed to chair the upcoming AAS/HEAD sessions on Dark Energy and TeV Astronomy to be held on January 11.

Steve as the new HEAD chair agreed to write the HEAD article for the next AAS newsletter, while Roger will provide the HEAD input for the BAAS.

Although the HEAD elections had not yet occurred (elections will be held at the beginning of February), the nominations committee has generated a list of potential nominees and is in the final stages of soliciting candidates for vice-chair and for members of the executive committee. Names of the possible nominees were read. It was agreed that in the future HEAD elections will be entirely conducted by email.

The committee had a lengthy discussion of the the effects of letter writing and visits to the Hill and how to advocate for high energy programs at NASA and in Congress. It was generally felt that HEAD members should be encouraged to talk with their representatives and that when talking with Congressional staff that it was best to help educate them about the general importance of space science, rather than to discuss particular missions. Two organized visits of HEAD members to the Hill are planned for each year. The importance of standing up for science at NASA was also mentioned. The new NASA advisory structure as well as the JWST costs were also discussed.

Plans for the next HEAD meeting in San Fransisco were discussed. Steve as the chair, with local help from Bryan and Christine, will begin to organize the sessions. It was agreed that there would be one or two invited talks in each session with other contributed talks. No formal evening sessions are planned. Steve will distribute an email and Steve Holt will be asked to join the organizing committee. Steve will also contact various organizations and companies to solicit sponcers for the meeting. The committee enthusiastically supported the request from Jim Lochner to provide a teacher workshop as part of the HEAD meeting.

Deepto then excused himself from the meeting and the committee discussed the many excellent nominations for the Rossi prize and decided to award the prize to Tod Strohmayer, Deepto Chakrabarty, and Rudy Wijnands for their pioneering work in revealing the millisecond spin periods and in establishing kilohertz intensity oscillations in X-ray sources as a powerful diagnostic tool of accreting neutron star binary systems.

Josh as well as the outgoing ExCom members (Kim, Fiona and Deepto) were thanked by Roger and the executive committee for their service on the Executive Committee.

As there were no further items, the meeting was adjoined.

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


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