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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Physics and Astronomy
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Astro2010: The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey

Astro2010 Infrastructure Study Groups

The six infrastructure study groups (ISGs) will assist the Subcommittee on State of the Profession by gathering current information on infrastructure, broadly defined. The ISGs will be a set of community activities comprised of consultants appointed to the survey process and operating under terms of reference provided by the State of the Profession subcommittee. 

The Astro2010 Infrastructure Study Groups will:

  • Gather information and data on questions posed by the survey’s Subcommittee on the State of the Profession on the issues of Computation, Simulation, and Data Handling; Demographics; Facilities, Funding and Programs; International and Private Partnership; Education and Public Outreach; and Astronomy and Public Policy.
  • Aggregate the data and information and describe recent trends and the past quantifiable impacts on research programs in astronomy and astrophysics.
  • Prepare a summary report for submission to the Astro2010 State of the Profession Subcommittee with these data and information presented mostly in tabular and graphical form. The report will cite the sources for all data and information and provide appropriate references.

In completing this task, the Infrastructural Study Groups will provide the survey committee with confidential reports of their findings by Spring 2009. The information in the study groups’ reports will be input to the Survey Committee’s deliberations and final report.  There are no activities planned for this group now.

Computation, Simulation, and Data Handling (CDH). Summarize existing computational resources and support for acquisition, analysis, and archiving of astronomical data and document needs and schedules for acquiring this capability for future projects for which the data analysis challenges are anticipated to be large. Summarize resources and support available for astrophysical and cosmological simulation and match possible simulation goals to computing capacity. Identify major challenges and changes in computing environments and software and report on expected availability of affordable computing cap ability over the next decade.

CDH Consultants:
Robert Hanisch, Space Telescope Science Institute, Co-Chair
Lars Hernquist, Harvard University, Co-Chair
Thomas Abel, Stanford University
Keith Arnaud, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Tim Axelrod, LSST
Alyssa Goodman, Harvard-Smithsonian CfA
Kathryn Johnston, Columbia University
Andrey Kravtsov, University of Chicago
Kristen Larson, Western Washington University
Carol Lonsdale, NRAO
Mordecai-Mark Mac Low, American Museum of Natural History
Michael Norman, University of California, San Diego
Richard Pogge, The Ohio State University
James Stone, Princeton University

Demographics (DEM). Estimate the numbers of astronomers and astrophysicists working in different environments and subfields. Consider diversity, geography and student populations. In academia, consider diversity among different academic ranks. Examine the individual grants programs in NASA, the NSF and DOE and break down resource allocation by field, discipline and cost category where possible. Collate oversubscription rates for programs. Examine publication rates by field and discipline.  

DEM Consultants:
James Ulvestad, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Chair
Jack Gallimore, Bucknell University
Evalyn Gates, University of Chicago
Rachel Ivie, American Institute of Physics
Christine, Jones Harvard-Smithsonian CfA
Patricia Knezek, WIYN Consortium, Inc.
Travis Metcalfe, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Naveen Reddy, NOAO
Joan Schmelz, University of Memphis
Louis-Gregory Strolger, Western Kentucky University

Facilities, Funding and Programs (FFP). List major operational public and private facilities, their capabilities, ages, and proposal pressure. Assess agency budgets for all programs. Consider infrastructure issues such as support for laboratory astrophysics and technology development and theory.

FFP Consultants:
J. Craig Wheeler, University of Texas at Austin, Chair
Rebecca A. Bernstein, University of California, Santa Cruz
David Burrows, Pennsylvania State University
Webster Cash, University of Colorado
R. Paul Drake, University of Michigan
Jeremy Goodman, Princeton University
W. Miller Goss, NRAO
Kate Kirby, Harvard-Smithsonian, CfA
Anthony Mezzacappa, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Robert Millis, Lowell Observatory
Catherine Pilachowski, Indiana University
Farid Salama, NASA, Ames Research Center
Ellen Zweibel, University of Wisconsin

International and Private Partnership (IPP). Summarize international, public and private partnerships for astronomical facilities and comment on lessons learned. Describe the scope and current status of relevant major projects in development. Summarize lessons learned to promote successful collaborations.

IPP Consultants 
Robert L. Dickman, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Chair
Michael Bolte, UC Santa Cruz
George Helou, California Institute of Technology
James Hesser, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
Wesley T. Huntress, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Richard Kelley, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Rolf-Peter Kudritzki, University of Hawai'i
Eugene H. Levy, Rice University
Antonella Nota, Space Telescope Science Institute
Brad Peterson, The Ohio State University

Education and Public Outreach (EPO). Review programs to communicate the results from astronomical research to all segments of society. Review the role of astronomy in K-12 and college education for both non-astronomers and astronomers. Describe ongoing initiatives in professional education for astronomers (including graduate students and postdocs), journalists and science policy experts.

EPO Consultants:
Lucy Fortson, Adler Planetarium, Co-Chair
Chris Impey, University of Arizona, Co-Chair
Carol Christian, Space Telescope Science Institute
Lynn Cominsky, Sonoma State University
Mary Dussault, Harvard-Smithsonian, CfA
Andrew Fraknoi, Foothill College
Pamela Gay, Southern Illinois University
Jeffrey Kirsch, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
Robert Mathieu, University of Wisconsin
George Nelson, Western Washington University
Edward Prather, University of Arizona
Philip Sadler, Harvard-Smithsonian, CfA
Keivan Stassun, Vanderbilt University
Richard Tresch Feinberg, Phillips Academy
Sidney Woolf, LSST

Astronomy and Public Policy (APP). Describe the various benefits to the nation that accrue from federal investment in astronomy and the potential contributions that professional astronomers make to research of societal importance including those associated with energy, climate and computation. Describe the current structure of committees and reporting lines that are used to provide advice to the federal government.

APP Consultants:
Daniel F. Lester, University of Texas at Austin, Chair
Jack Burns, University of Colorado
Bruce Carney, University of North Carolina
Heidi Hammel, Space Science Institute
Noel W. Hinners, Lockheed (retired)
John Leibacher, National Solar Observatory
J. Patrick Looney, Brookhaven National Laboratory
Melissa McGrath, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Annelia Sargent, California Institute of Technology