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

January 8th, 2002 -- Washington, DC


The executive committee meeting of the High Energy Astrophysics Division was held on January 8th, 2002, at the Washington, DC AAS meeting, convening at 6.30pm. Present were Alice Harding (chair), Josh Grindlay (vice-chair), Matthew Baring (secretary-treasurer), Vicki Kaspi, Greg Madejski, John Nousek, Lynn Cominsky (press officer), and Vice-Chair Elect (non-voting) Roger Blandford. Alice Harding called the meeting to order.

HEAD Election: Secretary/Treasurer Matthew Baring communicated the results of the HEAD election, namely that Roger Blandford was elected to the office of Vice-Chair, Matthew Baring was elected unopposed to the office of Secretary/Treasurer, and the three newly elected members of the Executive Committee are Omer Blaes, Brenda Dingus and Ramesh Narayan. 261 HEAD members voted including 15 paper ballots. Alice thanked the nominating committee (Christine Jones, Peter Meszaros and Lars Bildsten) for putting forth an outstanding slate of candidates. She also thanked the other candidates for standing for election and being willing to serve.

Secretary/Treasurer's report: Matthew Baring delivered the secretary-treasurer's report. He summarized the membership statistics, noting that HEAD now has approximately 800 members, a slow increase over the course of the year from around 700. He also reported that HEAD assets have increased to approximately $26,000, with income for 2001 being around $5,800 ($4,600 in dues, $1,200 in interest), and the expenses for 2001 were approximately $3,000 ($1,500 for awards, $900 travel by award winners, $400 for Executive Committee meeting expenses, and around $200 for copying/mailing/etc.). Hence the net income for 2001 was approximately $2,800, subject to final AAS audit.

Schramm award: The timing of the presentation of the award was discussed, with a decision to retain the current policy of presenting awards at HEAD meetings. Press Officer, Lynn Cominsky suggested increasing the award amount from the current amount of $1000 to $1500 after the Albuquerque meeting, commensurate with the Rossi Prize. While general agreement with this resolution was attained, no formal decision was reached. Lynn solicited volunteers to serve on the panel for reviewing Schramm award applications. Vice-Chair Josh Grindlay proposed that general members of the HEAD Executive Committee who were serving their second year should automatically serve on the Scramm panel; this proposal was adopted.

HEAD Dissertation Prize: Chair Alice Harding put forward the proposition that there should be a HEAD Dissertation Prize for theses relating to high energy astrophysics. Her suggestion was that it would pay for travel by the recipient to HEAD meetings, the first occasion perhaps being the Mt. Tremblant meeting in 2003. Varied discussion ensued, including details such as requiring that candidates must be nominated by their advisors, and limiting the criteria of eligibility to those whose thesis defense arise in the 18 months prior to the date of the award. No firm decisions were made, yet there was general concensus that HEAD should endow such a Prize. Alice agreed to draft a "manifesto" for such a Prize to aid further discussion.

Rossi Prize for 2002: After lengthy discussion and a vote, it was decided that the 2002 Bruno Rossi prize be awarded to Leon Van Speybroeck for "his singular contribution to high energy astrophysics leading to the exquisite image quality produced by the X-ray optics and telescope of the Chandra X-ray Observatory."

Resignation of Press Officer: Press Officer Lynn Cominsky announced that she will be resigning after the Albuquerque meeting, citing a considerable increase in responsibilities. Considerable regret was expressed at this news, and heartfelt thanks were offered to Lynn for her tireless efforts and enthusiasm as Press Officer over the last 5+ years. Vice-Chair Josh Grindlay offered himself as the contact point for the search for Lynn's successor; a goal to have a new HEAD Press Officer in place before the Albuquerque meeting was declared.

Albuquerque HEAD Meeting: Chair Alice Harding raised the subject of HEAD financial support for invited speakers from non-US countries. Three such speakers had requested support, from APS/DAP (Division of Astrophysics) and HEAD. The matter was discussed, and the Committee voted to offer 50% of local expenses and registration fees from HEAD finances to each of these speakers, on the assumption that APS/DAP would provide the other 50%.

Alice also indicated that HEAD had been requested by Judy Franz, Executive Secretary of the APS, to run a "lunch with the experts" table or two during the meeting, at the nominal cost of $150/table. Ensuing discussion led to an agreement that HEAD would organize and sponsor either 1 or 2 tables. Volunteers will be sought nearer the time. On the issue of hosting breakfasts for students at the meeting, raised earlier by Paul Hertz, the Committee decided to think further about it for future HEAD meetings and opted against organizing them in Albuquerque.

Mt. Tremblant HEAD meeting: Chair Alice Harding and Committee member Vicky Kaspi indicated that while site selection for the Spring 2003 HEAD meeting was complete, and the specific dates almost confirmed, the services of a conference organizing company had yet to be engaged. The Conference Connection, organizer of past HEAD meetings, declined to run the Mt. Tremblant meeting for HEAD; hope was expressed that they would consider future HEAD conferences. Accordingly, Vicky indicated that she has been securing competitive bids from Montreal-based organizations for consideration by the Committee. This process is not yet complete. Alice agreed to generate a pre-registration mailing for the meeting, to glean numbers of attendees and other pertinent information to aid planning.

The meeting was adjourned.

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

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