ALMA ALMA North American Science Advisory Committee Telecon Phone Meeting 2007, March 9

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Contact Information

  • Call date: 2007-03-09 19:00 UT (Friday)
  • Call time 14:00 EST or 19:00 UT
  • Duration: 1 hr
  • USA Number: 1-866-675-5385
  • Outside USA Number: +1 517 444 6916
  • Passcode: 8445333#
  • Leaders: Chris Carilli, Jon Williams


ANASAC Members (Attendees in RED):

  • Andrew Baker (Rutgers) (2008)
  • John Bally (U. Colorado) (2008)
  • Andrew Blain (Caltech) (2007)
  • Todd Clancy (SSI) (2009)
  • Xiaohui Fan (U. Az.) (2007)
  • Terry Herter (Cornell) (2009)
  • Paul Ho (CfA, Harvard) (2008)
  • Kelsey Johnson (UVa) (2009)
  • Doug Johnstone (HIA/DAO, Victoria) (2007)
  • Lee Mundy (U. Md) (2007)
  • Gorden Stacey (Cornell) (2009)
  • Jaqueline van Gorkom (Columbia) (2007)
  • Alycia Weinberger (DTM) (2009)
  • Jonathan Williams, Chair (U. Hawaii) (2008)
  • Christine Wilson (McMaster U.) (2007)
  • Mel Wright (UC Berkeley) (2008)
(Bold = Member of ASAC)

  • J. Hibbard
  • A. Wootten
  • Carilli
  • Brogan


1) Old Business (Carilli)

Minutes of 26 Jan 2007 meeting. Approved
Action items from last time:

  • ACTION: Future science meetings
    • WHO: All
    • Due: June 07
    • Done:

  • ACTION: Doug should contact Mark Adams about Canadian Brochure
    • WHO: Doug Johnstone
    • Due: June 07
    • Done:

  • ACTION: Send DRSP II to ANASAC for NA input
    • WHO: ASAC members
    • Due: May 07
    • Done:

  • ACTION: Does ASAC/ANASAC want Splatalog presentation
    • WHO: Blain
    • Due: May 07
    • Done:

  • ACTION: Review membership
    • WHO: Carilli
    • Due: April 07
    • Done:

  • ACTION: Get further input on NSF reaction to Grants
    • WHO: Carilli
    • Due: April 07
    • Done:

2) ALMA Science IPT News (Wootten)

Report from Carilli. Lots of project news. Big news -- first fringes. see: The ANASAC sends Kudos to the team at the ATF. This is a major project milestone. OSF now has a roof. Mark Holdaway has left NRAO. He will be missed. CASA testing is in full swing in Socorro, with an international team testing the alpha version for a week. Reports thus far are positive.

3) Update on ASAC (Mundy)

ASAC Web Page

New charges - see supplemental material

Report by Blain. The new charges were reviewed. The face to face is in May in tokyo. Concern was expressed about the tight CSV schedule and staffing. The DRSP II will be finalized and distributed for comment. Input on large/special/time comsuming projects is important to drive the process and planning.

4) ALMA Ops, NAASC proposal reviews (Carilli/Hibbard)

See supplemental material

NSF panel Chair Jean-Rene Roy -- Gemini Observatory South director

AOP international review panel Chair -- Pierre Cox - IRAM director

Carilli reported on review. Panels were very positive, and emphasized the importance of full science support. A major message that came out was the important need for adequate support early in the project, to ensure that expectations are met (as well as expectation management) -- watch what is promised, but what is promised should be delivered. Some other concerns were: archive and archive research, international communications, staffing ramp-up, and M&R asssumptions. Grants were discussed, but possible programmatic difficulties.

5) ALMA Workshops (Brogan)

planning proceeds very positively. abstracts are now closed, and there are plenty of very good ones to fill the program. they are even thinking of expanding from 2.5 to 3 full days.

6) Next Telecon

  • Date of next phone meeting will be on: April 27, 2007

Supplemental Material

Announcement from AUI and NRAO Director's Office on ALMA ops plan review

"On another topic, we just successfully completed two ALMA operations reviews. One was an international review of the ALMA Operations Plan; the other was an NSF review of our proposal for conducting North American ALMA Operations and for the NAASC. The initial debriefings by the review committees were extremely positive. While we must await receipt of the written reports before providing a definitive summary, you should know that the panels were extremely impressed by the planning, the materials, the presentations, and the performance of the NRAO staff.

They were especially impressed with both the level of detail that has gone into the planning--"years ahead" of other projects they knew at comparable points in their lifecycles--and the teamwork displayed. They could not believe that the NRAO staff members involved with ALMA operations had been working together for barely a year. They and NSF also heard a clear and strong message that ALMA is NRAO's top priority, and that the One Observatory approach provides a suite of forefront facilities from meter to submillimeter wavelengths to the astronomical community.

There are obviously some concerns, including the planned steep ramp-up in hiring, and the adequacy of the resources both for user support and for future maintenance and development, but both of these just argue for more resources. Overall, the panel appeared overwhelmingly supportive of our work.

We thank everyone who worked so hard to make this review a success, and all who are continuing to make NRAO the world's forefront radio astronomy observatory.

The entire Observatory should be proud."

Fred Lo and Ethan Schreier

ASAC charges for May 2007 meeting

At their telecon yesterday, the ASAC was presented with a set of charges to address at their May face-to-face meeting. I forward them to you here so that you might develop your own thoughts on the subjects.


The ALMA Scientific Advisory Committee (ASAC) will provide advice on those major issues presented to the ASAC by the Project Scientist or the ALMA Board that affect the science capabilities of ALMA and require decisions to be made or priorities to be set regarding project tasks and resources. The ASAC will be kept informed of progress and developments in ALMA through periodic reports and briefings provided by the Joint ALMA Office and shall meet at least twice a year. Reports of the ASAC's deliberations will be made in writing to the Board by the Chairperson of the ASAC following each Committee meeting, on a schedule specified in advance by the Board. The Project Scientist serves on the Committee ex officio.

Charge for the Meeting of May, 2007

The ASAC is requested to consider the following topics, and to make recommendations to the Board that include your priority or time scale where your recommendations require expenditure of ALMA's fixed resources. Note: ASAC's written report must be received no later than Friday, 8 June 2007 in order to allow the JAO time to prepare their written response for consideration of both documents by the Board at its 27-28 June 2007 meetings in Chile.

I. Review and summarize the science in the version 2 of the DRSP. We are particularly interested in the qualitative changes from Version 1 of the DRSP and implications, if any, for the construction and operation of ALMA. In conjunction with this, review the status of the correlator capabilities and recommend which of its numerous modes should be implemented first.

II. Within the context of operational planning, review the status and capability of the Atacama Compact Array both as a set of special purpose sub arrays and as an element of the full ALMA.

III. Review the current status of molecular line databases and their readiness for ALMA science. The review should evaluate existing plans for the next five years in light of ALMA's needs at full operation and in coordination with other major projects with similar needs, in particular Herschel and SOFIA.

IV. The ASAC should read and discuss the Operations Plan. Depending on the questions raised in the formal review of the Operations Plan in late February, the Board may request ASAC input in formulating its responses. Such requests will come as addenda to these charges, if needed.

Clear skies, Al

-- ChrisCarilli - 09 Mar 2007
Topic revision: r2 - 2007-03-09, AlWootten
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