A Man for All Wavelengths Roger Blandford and the Astronomical Community John Huchra CfA Oct 2009
Roger’s Scientific Side 200 papers, multiple threat, invariant even solar! Egypt 2006 Not Roger !
But breadth & wisdom can get you into serious trouble --- and has! Major National Committees & Panels in just the last decade: AANM HEA Panel 1998-2000 AAS Council 1999-2002 CAA Co-Chair 2002-2006 Space Studies Board 2002-2006 MPS Advisory Committee 2001-2004 Quarks to the Cosmos (Physics of the Universe) 2002-4 NAS Decadal Survey Mid-Course Review NSF OIR Roadmap Committee NSF AST Senior Review (Chair) 2005-2006 and now ASTRO2010 (Chair)
It’s a Dirty Job … NSF Senior Review Called because resources were running out and very little progress was being made in AST on the ground-based projects recommended in AANM Its underpinnings still hold today
For the SR, we devised a process. Key elements included (1) Involve people --- town halls, open meetings (2) Stay broad --- avoid attempts to fence off programs. Consider all budgets. (3) Maximize scientific return After a year’s work
Additional Findings 1. The Scientific Challenge. Proper maintenance of current facilities while simultaneously developing and beginning operations of the proposes new facilities is infeasible under any reasonable expectations for federal budget support based on past funding levels. The cuts that are recommended here are as deep as they can be without causing irreparable damage and will only allow s start to be made on the new initiatives. The scientific promise of the proposed facilities is so compelling and of such broad interest and importance that there is a strong case for increasing the overall AST budget to execute as much of the science as possible. 2. The Operations Challenge. Major astronomical observatories typically take at least a decade to plan,construct and commission. They are usually operated for several decades. The full cost of operating, maintaining, upgrading, exploiting and decommissioning them are many times the cost of construction. Realistic life cycle costing for observatories that are under construction or consideration is an essential part of planning. 3. The Strategic Challenge. Construction on the ATST may begin as early as 2009 (so as to be operational in 2014) and there is a strong scientific case for proceeding with the GSMT the LSST and the SKA as soon as feasible thereafter. A realistic implementation plan involves other agencies and independent and international partners. Some choices need to be made soon, others can await the conclusions of the next Decadal Survey. Much work is needed, scientifically, technically and diplomatically, to inform this plan.
4. Towards a Coherent National Astronomy Enterprise.In order to meet the challenge of (multi-)billion dollar, ground-based optical-infrared and radio observatories, there will have to be strong collaboration between the federal and independent components of the US astronomical enterprise and firm leadership by AST. A high level commission addressing optical and infrared facilities provides one way to start to bring together the diverse components of the national program to begin to realize the fullpotential of the US system. 5. Future Reviews. Balancing the demands of the current program against the aspirations of the future program is an ongoing obligation. The senior Review process should be implemented as a standard practice within the Division of Astronomical Sciences and should be a consideration included in the next decadal Survey.
And now ASTRO 2010 Planning for this started in 2006! Roger selected as chair in the summer of 2008 Process defined over the first few months 5 Science Panels (PSF,SSE,GAN,GCT,CFP) 4 Program Panels (OIR,RMS,EOS,PAG) 6 Infrastructure Study Groups (CDH,DEM,FFP,IPP,EPO,APP) Town Halls, Open Meetings, White Papers, Position Papers, Project Submissions Hundreds of people have been involved so far (P.S. I’m accepting suggestions for a good title!)
Context The good, the bad & the ugly Astronomy, scientifically has been very successful in the last decade Astronomy “draws” students & the public Opportunities in major funding lines (e.g. ATST) Now many other related “decadal” survey NASA Astrophysics flat or declining NSF burdened by operations costs, grant success at 20% DOE officially in the game A&A not currently identified with National priorities NSF currently has a significant leadership problem
NASA SMD Budgets But awaiting Augustine & Decadal Survey
Its Still a Dirty Job…. And how is it going? Under Roger’s deft leadership we are on schedule --- expect a report release summer 2010. The science is exciting and compelling. The public loves us. and the pictures speak for themselves
Last Call -- A plea from me and the AAS Astronomers and Astrophysicists need to participate in the process, starting from service on committees and panels, including editorial and refereeing work, high level advisory committees, and, perhaps most importantly, service in the agencies themselves. Roger has stepped upto the plate--- will you!