ALMA ALMA North American Science Advisory Committee Telecon Phone Meeting 2006-June 30

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Contact Information

  • Call date: 2006-6-30 18:00 UT (Friday)
  • Call time 14:00 ET or 18:00 UT
  • Duration: 1 hr
  • USA Number: 877-874-1919
  • Outside USA Number: +1 203-320-9891
  • Passcode: 185064
  • Leaders: Chris Carilli, Jon Williams


ANASAC Members (Attendees in RED:
  • Andrew Baker (U. Md.) (2008)
  • John Bally (U. Col.) (2008)
  • Andrew Blain (Caltech) (2007)
  • Crystal Brogan (NRAO) (2008)
  • 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)
  • Elizabeth Lada (UFla) (2009)
  • Lee Mundy (U. Md) (2007)
  • Jean Turner (UCLA) (2007)
  • Alycia Weinberger (DTM) (2009)
  • Jonathan Williams (U. Hawaii) (2008; Chair starting June 2006)
  • Christine Wilson (McMaster U.) (2007)
  • Mel Wright (UC Berkeley) (2008)
(Bold = Member of ASAC)

  • J. Hibbard
  • A. Wootten
  • C. Carilli


1) Old Business (Hibbard)

Agenda and Minutes of 28 April 2006 meeting. Approved?
Action items from last time:
  • ACTION: Find replacement Chair for ANASAC
    • WHO: F.Lo
    • DUE: ASAP
    • DONE: 5/31/2006 - Jonathan Williams (IfA) is new Chair
  • ACTION: Schedule AnasacF2f meeting.
    • WHO: Jon Williams/C. Carilli
    • Due: Should be arranged by end of July
    • Done: wiki established with list of possible dates by Wootten. would be good to have this before the ASAC meeting scheduled for Sept 16 17
  • ACTION: Send UC report to ANASAC
    • WHO: Hibbard
    • Due: 5/30
    • Done: 6/6/2006 - sent in email from Jonathan Williams
  • ACTION: Help further define NAASC workshop on Disks
    • WHO: C. Brogan
    • Due: next meeting (Jun 30)
    • Done: SOC has been established from ANASAC members -- need list
  • ACTION: email comments on Science Support program to A. Baker (
    • WHO: all ANASAC members
    • Due: before next meeting (6/30)
    • Done: 6/2006 - A. Baker report to NAASC

2) ANASAC membership (Carilli)

  • Jon Williams new head
  • John Bally new ASAC member
Jon Williams was announced as new chair. He then ran the meeting. The appointment is for one year. John Bally was announced as new ASAC member. He had not heard about this officially from NRAO! He has been approved by the ALMA Board.

Action -- send Bally invitation (Director's office)

3) ALMA Science IPT News (Wootten)

The AOS TB  Shell Done 15 June view of the AOS TB Shell and the antennas of the site testing interferometer. The AOS TB Shell is in place. The interior work has commenced and continues through the current austral winter. At the OSF, antenna foundations are under construction at the Vertex and Melco laydown areas. The ALMA Board approved the OSF contract; construction should begin soon on the OSF building. The Board recommended that all parties sign the Agreement which brings Japan fully into the project. As of the Board meeting, NINS (Japan) and ESO had signed; NSF was expected to by 30 June.

A new DRSP is being planned to include ALMA-J. The question arose again about scientists from the community participating in ALMA commissioning. This is a tricky issue due the necessity in NAm of keeping ops and construction funding separate so this cannot go through the ARC but needs to relate to a construction entity like the science IPT. Wootten pointed out that up until 2008 there is only the science IPT and commissioning team involved. Between 2008 and 2010 will be the transition between construction and operations including AoD roles for the ARC astronomers. Generally the JAO wants minimum visits of order 3 months to make them useful for commissioning help. C. Wilson pointed out that science verification may be the best first opportunity for community involvement.

4) New ANASAC role (Carilli)

The role of the ANASAC will become critical in the coming months. As operations ramps-up, we need to move to a mode where the ANASAC has concrete input into the project through formal charges and responses, in a manner parallel to the vital scientific role the ASAC has played in the international construction project.

These needed changes come now because we have a few absolutely critical charges for the ANASAC that need to be addressed by the end of the summer. These charges relate to the funding proposal for North American ALMA operations that has been requested from NRAO by the NSF for October, 2006. The ANASAC represents the community in this process. Please see the Supplemental Material at the end of this agenda for the charges.

5)Charges May 2006, and subcommittee preliminary reports (Williams)

See supplementary material below.

The grants program charge was discussed. The question of how likely this was to succeed at the NSF was raised? The impression from Hibbard and others that visited the NSF was that they are open to it but need the impetus to come from the community - really a ground swell of support. The question arose as to the amount. Is the penciled-in $10M in 2013 about right? The answer was that it seemed high compared to the rest of the NSF grants program although if the grants program grows at 7% per year (the projected NSF budget) then the PI grants program would be about $50M in 2013. L. Mundy proposed that perhaps we should make the ALMA grants program just a percentage of the NSF budget in the proposal like 15% or so? This may be more difficult to write-in due to the uncertainty of the number but might make it more palatable? C.Brogan asked whether we should include our optical colleagues in this? The answer was that it would be difficult to do so in the immediate proposal but perhaps could be worked later once the issue has been raised at the NSF. The point is that the decadal report recommend such funding with future ground based facilities and ALMA is the first one. Note that the number is not large compared to NASA programs. The possibility was raised to simply bracket projects of the NSF budget in the proposal and go in as a percentage. Clancy argued that it is reasonable to go for the high end. He also said we need a leader for the subcommittee working on this charge. John Bally agreed to participate on the subcommittee. The issue of science support in europe came up and it was pointed out that they have a very different system - not as point-source as inthe US. Mundy said that to make this work we need to include a theory part of the grants program - that was a strong sell for the HST grants program.

Charge 2 on development projects was discussed. The issue was raised as to whether the proposal was bottom up or top down ie community generated or ALMA solicited? The rules are very clear that development projects are proposed by the executives in collaboration with the JAO to the ALMA board where the ultimate decision resides. How each executive works out their projects is up to them. In the US we hope to have community workshops regularly to set the scientific priorities and potentially to come up with a workable development program that includes some work done in the community. A worry was expressed that bad feelings might arise due to conflicting proposals from two executives. Again that is a Board issue.

Charge 3 was discussed - the ANASAC review of the NSF proposal. This will be lead by the ASAC. Mundy asked what was the main goal of the review. There are two main issues: 1. are the North American specific issues addressed adequately and in keeping with the desires of the community? And 2 - we need to submit the strongest proposal possible that will be well reviewed by oour peers. Any ANASAC advice on how to make it better in this context would be most appreciated.

6) ASAC Report (Wilson)

  • Face to face meeting place and time (r1.44).
    • The Board has approved a meeting in Florence 16-17 September.

Lee Mundy should give ASAC report since he is next ASAC chair.

7) ALMA Workshops (Brogan)

  • Planning of 2nd NAASC Science Workshop is in early stages. A meeting on disks, with a session including chemistry, was well recieved at last ANASAC meeting. C. Brogan will work on this. Update?
C. Brogan is putting together an SOC from the ANASAC for this meeting. This includes Mundy, Johnstone, Wootten, Williams, others? As well as Yancy Shirely.

Action -- get SOC list from Brogan.

  • A sample ALMA Meetings held in 2005-6:
    • The SZ Effect and ALMA (Meeting in Orsay Apr 2005)
    • Galactic and Extragalactic ISM Modelling in an ALMA Perspective (Meeting in Onsala Oct 2005)
    • Stellar Physics with ALMA (Meeting in Montpellier Oct 2005)
    • From z-Machines to ALMA (Meeting in Charlottesville Va, January 2006)
    • Complex Molecules in Space: present status and prospects with ALMA (Meeting in Aahrus, Denmark, May 2006)
    • The fate of gas in galaxies (Meeting in Dwingeloo, NL, July 2006)
    • Subaru-ALMA Science (Meeting in Hilo, March 2006)
    • ALMA Science (Ast. Soc. of Japan Meeting in Wakayama, March 2006)
    • Workshop on Measurement of Atmospheric Water Vapour: Theory, Techniques, Astronomical and Geodetic Applications October 9-11, 2006; Wettzell / Hoellenstein (Germany)

8) Next telecon and face-to-face

  • Date of next phone meeting According to our current schedule the next one should be on: 2006-8-25 18:00 UT (Friday)
  • Suggest meeting in Charlottesville in the Fall, perhaps 2nd week (11,12), to review input into NSF proposal?

A wiki page was set up at AnasacF2f to canvas dates. Would be best to have this before the ASAC meeting Sept 16 17. Action - finalize dates (Williams, Carilli)

Supplemental Material

Charges May 2006, and subcommittee preliminary reports (Williams)

CHARGE 1. User Grants program: the grants program is a recommended priority by the decadal committee. NRAO can act as an advocate for the community in this regard, but the real impetus must come from the community. The Grants should not be considered funding for NRAO, but should be considered funding for support for the community use of ALMA. Does the community want a grants-with-observing time program associated with ALMA? What is a reasonable starting amount for such a program? The number we have penciled-in is $10 M/year, which is about $1 per second observing time (similar to space missions).

  • Can the ANASAC provide an endorsement letter for a grants program (if that is what you decide), with a rough description of the kind of grants program the user community would like to see, and possibly a guideline as to the amount?

Subcommittee: Fan, Clancy, Weinberger, Bally

CHARGE 2. Community involvement in ALMA operations: The NSF has asked us to identify areas where ALMA operations funding could be spent outside of NRAO, ie. in the US University community. The obvious areas are (i) software development: this could include software to support new ALMA observing modes, or to take advantages of new computing hardware, or advanced analysis routines, such as complex, wide field spectral line analysis and visualization. (ii) hardware development: possibly new receiver bands or advanced WVRs (iii) educational activities: scientific meetings, students, and postdocs support

Addition to Charge II:

Concerning Charge II to the ANASAC about community involvement in ALMA ops, we should clarify that we are most interested in getting input on the general process for deciding how development funds are prioritized scientifically, and then the process for deciding how best to implement these priotities. The exact detailed programs are less of an issue, since these will evolve with time, although if they have some specific recommendations in the near term, those are welcome.

One operational model for the prioritization process would be to hold regular (annual?) open workshops to discuss the science priorities of the communities, and then the best means of implementation.

  • Can the ANASAC make a set of recommendations as to where they think the Universities could best get involved with ALMA operations?

subcommittee: Baker, Blain, Johnson

CHARGE 3: A review of the North American ALMA operations funding proposal, prior to submission to the NSF. Community assessment of the proposal is an absolutely crucial task, and should make the proposal much stronger. Can the ANASAC review the draft NSF proposal, and provide a short assessment of the proposed North American ALMA operations funding plan?

subcommittee: ASAC members

ChrisCarilli - 05 Jul 2006
Topic revision: r3 - 2006-07-05, JohnHibbard
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