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HEAD Executive Meeting - San Antonio Jan 15, 1996
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HEAD Press Officer - Steve Maran



money to have press officers - Xerox machines, phones, fax, travel for Steve Maran or other officer. But can do it cheaply, with one hotel room, for example. Get press to meeting by finding abstracts that look newsworthy (not necc. most significant - not necc. invited papers or prize talks, because they have been exposed already). Even if some results will be proven to be wrong later. Can FAX pres s releases to press people who are not at the meeting. Perhaps this could be done on the Web. But must embargo results. E-mail can be used too. Stephen could forward some of our releases to his list of reporters. Start with a list of results for a press kit. Then take the most newsworthy for press conferences. Conferences must be timed to the day of the presentation so as not to violate embargos. Maybe 4 or 5 of these will actually appear in press with a short delay, but others will dribble out over the next few months.

He can help us with the HEAD mtg., but he won't be our press officer. He can give us guidelines, and send releases to his exploder. Takes him several weeks to go th rough 850 abstracts to get his press kit. Start several weeks to months in advance getting in touch with reporters, letting them know about the meeting. Tell them the general out line but explain that you don't know where the exciting news will come from yet. Then follow up later. Give them at least two major stories to get them interested in coming or at least in writing them up. We might do only 2 - 3 press conferences, all on one day.

Lynn Cominsky volunteered to try out the role of HEAD press officer for the San Diego meeting. She trailed Steve Maran around the AAS the following day to learn the job. She will share the job with Paul Hertz.

Finances - Kevin Hurley

* see Business meeting for details *

  • Should we raise Rossi Prize amount to $1500? Yes. Raise dues if need be.
  • Should we use some money to bring a high school science teacher to our meeting, as an outreach activity?

Membership - Kevin Hurley

* see Business meeting for details *

Newsletter - Kevin Hurley

IDEA grants, SR&T results could be highlighted in next newsletters.


Martin Elvis volunteered to work with Andrea Dupree of the AAS to implement a voluntary register of which HEAD members live and/or work in which congressional districts, and so set up first a means of telling HEAD members that their representatives are on relevant committees, and second a quick information network to inform members of important votes.

HEAD meeting Martin Elvis

Agreed to go to 18 month schedule.

Next meeting would be fall 97. We will have SAX and USA between now and then. First AXAF NRA will be out around then.i

Possible Venues: Santa Fe, Hilton Head?

Meeting after that would be spring `99. Should be ~8 months after AXAF launch. If AXAF does not slip then an ASC-hosted meeting in Boston/Cambridge would be appropriate and desirable.


HEAD Business Meeting Jan 16 Tues

HEAD Election Results

Martin Elvis announced the results of the recent elections. The nominating committee consisted of Peter Meszaros (chair), Saeqa Vrtilek, and Bill Wheaton. The new vice-chair is Gordon Garmire. The new executives are Paula Szkody, David Burrows, and Chip Meegan. This is based on 160 votes received up to the January 5 deadline. It was noted that 160 votes is about twice the number received in the last election, although it is only 25% of the membership. Martin Elvis now joins the executive committee as past chair. and: New Vice Chair, new execs. Press officer.

A HEAD Press Officer

Martin Elvis noted that Steve Maran, noting growth of HEAD meeting, suggested we nominate a press officer. Steve spoke to the HEAD executives at the January 15 business meeting. We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers. Note that this is an unpaid position, and duties would commence immediately for the April HEAD meeting.

Secretary-Treasurer's Report

Kevin Hurley presented the secretary-treasurer's report. The membership now stands at 631. (For comparison, we had 430 members during 1992, 1993, and 1994, and 550 during 1995; The AAS has 6500 members and the only larger division, DPS, has 1000 members.). Of the 631, 589 have access to e-mail.

The financial situation is good. We have approximately $12,819 in the AAS account, on which we earn about $500/year interest, and $2404 in a checking account. (This compares with a balance of $10,900 for the 1994 report. ) If all members renew their membership, we would have about $3786/year in dues. In view of this, the executive committee decided to increase the value of the Rossi prize, which has been steady at $1000 for many years, to $1500.

Reorganization of NASA Headquarters

Guenther Riegler and Alan Bunner described the OSS reorganization. This has come about as a result of the presidential initiative to reduce headquarters staffin g by 50%, and to further shrink the staffing by 15% over the next four years. At present, there are 32 people at OSS. By the end of FY1 1996, this will be reduced to 25 at most, and possibly less. Details of the new organization appeared in the November 1995 HEAD newsletter. The High Energy Astrophysics branch will no longer exist as such.

Guenther Riegler will be the chief scientist in the new organizational plan. Alan Bunner will be involved in activities such as strategic planning and new mission concepts. The National Research Council has been asked to complete a mini-decadal study for NASA by Spring 1997. This will determine the 1998/9 new starts. There will be advisory committees, which will exist as subcommittees of the SSAC, for each scientific theme. These may take the place of the MOWGs, which no longer exist at present, or the MOWGs may come back, but with new members. Lou Kaluzienski and Rick Harnden will remain the discipline scientists for high energy astrophysics.

Rossi Prize

Martin Elvis announced the winners of the 1996 Rossi Prize. He noted that there were the same number of nominees this year, but many more enthusiastic letters. This year's prize will be awarded to Felix Mirabel and Luis Rodriguez for their discovery of superluminal jets (galactic microquasars) in hard X-ray sources.

San Diego HEAD Meeting

There have been 300 responses to the 1st & 2nd announcements. As the meeting is now shaping up, there will be no parallel or evening sessions. A large amount of poster space and time will be provided. There will be status, calibration, data analysis workshops for XTE, ASCA, and ROSAT as well as topical sessions on >30 GeV gamma rays, future he missions, extracting information from X-ray spectra, and the future of ROSAT. Other special meetings and splinter sessions can be arranged if desired. Wednesday afternoon will be left free.

The new schedule for HEAD meetings will be every 18 months. The next meeting will therefore be in Fall 97 (to coincide with the 1st AXAF NRA), the following one in Spring 99 (to coincide, hopefully, with the 1st AXAF results), Fall 00 (to coincide with the imminent launches of XMM and ASTRO-E launches.) Suggestions for locations are welcome.


Rick Rothschild announced the successful launch of XTE. He thanked Alan Bunner , Lou Kaluzienski, and all the people at NASA Headquarters for their support over the years. The spacecraft is generally working well, with minor, but not problematic damage to the solar panels. The instrument backgrounds are as expected. Some problems with the all sky monitors were noted, and are being actively worked on.

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    Created By: Tim Graves and Lynn Cominsky, June 14, 1999