Board on Physics and Astronomy The National Academies

NAS NAE IOM NRC September 30, 2014





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A Strategy to Optimize the U.S. Optical and Infrared System in the Era of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)


Request for White Papers

(8/27/2014) The committee requests white papers from the astronomy community to aid its work.  Please see the Request for White Papers document (click here for the questions) for more information.  

(9/17/2014) Submissions are now open.  You must use this template for your white paper(s) to be accepted. Send your white paper(s) to  Only PDF, DOC, and DOCX files are accepted. By submitting your white paper(s) you acknowledge that the file(s) you send will be made publicly available.

(09/26/2014) The template [see above] has been updated for clarity. 


Project Information

Statement of Task

In order to position the observational, instrumentation, data management, and support capabilities of the U.S. optical and infrared astronomy (O/IR) system to best address the science objectives identified in the 2010 NRC report entitled New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics and the 2011 NRC report entitled Vision and Voyages for Planetary Sciences in the Decade 2013-2022, and to help achieve the best science return from the National Science Foundation investment in O/IR astronomy over the next 10-15 years, the National Research Council will convene a committee to write a short report that will:

  1. Identify the principal capabilities that exist in the U.S. ground-based optical and infrared (O/IR) system--both federal and non-federal--and are critical to addressing the New Worlds, New Horizons science objectives over the next 10-15 years.
  2. Identify the most important additions and adjustments to the U.S. ground-based O/IR system that would best position the system to address the New Worlds, New Horizons science objectives over the next 10-15 years.

The committee will develop its own working definition of the U.S. O/IR system that will include both federal and non-federal components. The committee will consider instrumentation, data management, and support capabilities alongside observational capabilities in its consideration of (1) and (2) above. The committee may make recommendations or offer comments on organizational structure, program balance, and funding, with discussion of the evidentiary bases as appropriate.

Meetings & Events

June 4, 2014 at 12:45pm EDT
224th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society
Town Hall Organized by the Committee (Town Hall #310)
Staffordshire Room
Westin Copley Place
Boston, MA

First meeting
July 31 - August 1, 2014
Keck Center of the National Academies
Washington, D.C.

Second meeting
October 12-13, 2014
Beckman Center of the National Academies
Irvine, CA
Agenda pending

Third meeting
December 2-3. 2014
Keck Center of the National Academies
Washington, D.C.
Agenda pending 

Community Input

Community input will be vital to the success of this study. If you would like to provide input to the study, please email us at

Please check back for updates on how else to provide input, as we will not use the email account for soliciting all public input. More information will be posted soon.

Committee Membership & NRC Staff

Debbie Elmegreen, Vassar College, Chair
Todd Boroson, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network
Debra Fischer, Yale University
Josh Frieman, University of Chicago and Fermilab
Lynne Hillenbrand, California Institute of Technology
Buell Jannuzi, University of Arizona and Steward Observatory
Bob Kirshner, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Lori Lubin, University of California, Davis
Robert Lupton, Princeton University
Paul Schechter, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Paul Vanden Bout, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Craig Wheeler, University of Texas at Austin
Joel Parriott, American Astronomical Society, consultant to the committee

David Lang, Study Director, Board on Physics and Astronomy
Linda Walker, Program Coordinator, Board on Physics and Astronomy
James Lancaster, Director, Board on Physics and Astronomy
Michael Moloney, Director, Space Studies Board


The Board on Physics and Astronomy and Space Studies Board are pleased to acknowledge the National Science Foundation Division on Astronomical Sciences as the study sponsor.


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