LAD 2018 Election

Laboratory Astrophysics Division Ballot 2018 - Voting Ends on 27 May 2018 at 11:59 PM (Eastern Time Zone)

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Current time: Tuesday, 11 December 2018, 06:35:04 pm EST (-05:00 GMT)

Voting opened: Monday, 30 April 2018, 12:00:00 am EDT (-04:00 GMT)
Voting closed: Sunday, 27 May 2018, 11:59:59 pm EDT (-04:00 GMT)

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Member-at-Large (Nuclear/Particle Physics)

Description: The Members-at-Large sit on the Committee of the Division which has general charge of the affairs of the Division
Term Elected For:
Currently Serving:

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Kenneth M. Nollett


Biography

Professional Title/Position

Assistant Professor

Degrees and Education

University of Chicago, 2000

Affiliations

San Diego State University

Research Areas, Topics, and Interests

  • Nuclear reaction & structure theory
  • Cosmology
  • Nucleosynthesis
  • Stellar evolution
  • Meteoritic presolar grains
  • Nuclear data evaluation for astrophysics

Services, Roles, and Activities

n/a

Professional Experience and Positions

  • Postdocs at Caltech and the University of Washington, 2000-2003
  • Scientific staff at Argonne National Laboratory, 2003-2012
  • Visiting Assistant Professor at Ohio University, 2012-2014
  • Research Assistant Professor at University of South Carolina, 2014-2015
  • Executive Committee of the APS Topical Group on Few-Body Physics, 2016-2019

Candidate Statement

Historical circumstances have left nuclear and elementary-particle properties of matter somewhat separate from the rest of laboratory astrophysics. Nuclear aspects of astrophysics are funded mainly by the nuclear sections of the funding agencies, not the astronomical sections. Laboratory determination of nuclear properties for astrophysics is in fact viewed as a core area of low-energy nuclear physics by the funding agencies and the nuclear community at large. This happy circumstance has resulted in unhappily weak integration of nuclear astrophysics practitioners into the laboratory astrophysics community. Most American researchers in nuclear astrophysics see the American Physical Society and its Division of Nuclear Physics, not the AAS, as their professional home. Better incorporation of nuclear physicists into LAD would serve much more important purposes than semantic consistency in the phrase "laboratory astrophysics:" nuclear astrophysics shares with other areas of laboratory astrophysics experimental methods (like ion sources and mass spectrometry), problems of data evaluation, and quantum many-body collision and radiation problems. Moreover, the goals of nuclear astrophysics face risks from gaps in knowledge of atomic data used to interpret spectra.

I have been less directly involved in particle astrophysics, but I have worked in particle cosmology, and I spent earlier career phases adjacent to significant particle astrophysics efforts. There the issues seem rather different, with shakier funding agency support and data needs more directly tied to the generation and detection of signals. In any case, this field faces similar scientific and bureaucratic challenges as other areas of laboratory astrophysics and (like nuclear astrophysics) has had limited direct contact with "traditional" astronomy and its laboratory enterprise.

All areas of astrophysics would benefit from stronger integration of the nuclear and particle sections of the community into the larger laboratory astrophysics community, and a good place to begin is with participation in LAD and its activities. I would like to promote affiliate membership in LAD by particle and nuclear astrophysicists, and encourage them to see AAS as a link to a broader astronomical community than they come into contact with through their APS divisions. I would seek opportunities for LAD to work together with the APS Division of Nuclear Physics, the APS Division of Astrophysics, and the APS Topical Group on Few-Body Physics (where I have a year remaining as an Executive Committee member). I would seek to organize sessions of the LAD Annual Meeting that have sufficiently broad focus to invite both nuclear/particle and more traditional laboratory astrophysics speakers, with the explicit goal of facilitating personal contacts and encouraging the invited speakers and t heir students (or advisers!) to join LAD. By my count, six of the 170 LAD members are currently nuclear physicists, and there are actually no names that I immediately associate with particle astrophysics (possibly a measure of my own ignorance), so there is a large need for growth.

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Johan Frenje


Biography

Professional Title/Position

Senior Research Scientist, Assistant Head of the MIT-PSFC's HEDP Division

Degrees and Education

Uppsala University, Sweden, 1998

Affiliations

MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center

Research Areas, Topics, and Interests

  • Nuclear Astrophysics
  • High-Energy-Density-Plasma Physics
  • Plasma Physics
  • Basic Nuclear Physics

Services, Roles, and Activities

n/a

Professional Experience and Positions

  • APS-DPP Executive committee member, 2016-present
  • OMEGA Laboratory Users Group Executive Committee, 2015-present
  • Chairing the ICF-HED National Ignition Implosion Physics Working Group formed by NNSA, 2015-present
  • Executive committee member of the National Diagnostic planning effort initiated by NNSA, 2013-present
  • Executive Committee member for the High-Temperature-Plasma Diagnostics conference, 2014-present
  • Member of the DOE High-Energy-Density Laboratory Physics (HEDLP) ReNew Panel, 2009
  • Member of the NNSA Basic Research Directions on User Science at the NIF panel, 2010
  • Chaired the Stagnation-properties and Burn panel (part of the NNSA’s Review on Science of Fusion Ignition), 2012

Candidate Statement

We are living in an exciting era for astronomy. The discovery of gravitational waves have opened an entirely new window to the Universe that will most certainly lead to additional amazing discoveries. Several new telescopes are also being designed or built; systems that will fundamentally change observational astronomy. In the area of High-Energy-Density (HED) plasma physics, my area, new facilities are being commissioned or are in operation, which can create extreme HED plasma conditions that cannot be generated elsewhere in the world, enabling novel studies in the area of laboratory astrophysics. The National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is one such facility that can create extreme HED plasma conditions highly relevant to Stellar and Big-Bang Nuclear synthesis. Still, despite the excitement in our broad field, there is a growing concern about the funding situation. Research budgets are basically flat, if not declining, and financial support for research seems to become increasingly difficult to obtain, while research is becoming more expensive. These concerns clearly overshadow the excitement, and thus hamper the process of discovery. Even though research budgets will most likely remain flat for some time, my goal, if elected, will be to work with the members of the AAS to start addressing the main reasons for these concerns. My hope is to significantly strengthen the dialog between the AAS members, political leaders and general public about the increasing rate of scientific discoveries and the noticeable excitement in our field. My goal is to also work with the community to become more effective in attracting and retaining talented undergraduate and graduate students. The latter will be accomplished by working towards strengthening the health of our field, which will generate more excitement, and by providing an increased number of career opportunities in academia. If elected as a Member-At-Large, my plan is to promote these goals in addition to the goals of AAS.

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Member-at-Large (Molecules)

Description: The Members-at-Large sit on the Committee of the Division which has general charge of the affairs of the Division
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Brett A. McGuire


Biography

Professional Title/Position

Hubble Fellow

Degrees and Education

California Institute of Technology, 2015

Affiliations

National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Research Areas, Topics, and Interests

  • Laboratory Astrophysics: Gas-Phase Microwave and (sub-)mm Spectroscopy, Condensed-Phase TeraHertz and IR Spectroscopy
  • Observational Astrochemistry: Radio, (sub-)mm, and Far-IR Astrophysics, Formation and Chemical Evolution of Complex Organic Molecules
  • Astrobiology: Cosmic Origins of Prebiotic Material

Services, Roles, and Activities

n/a

Professional Experience and Positions

  • Panelist for NASA ROSES, NASA Fellowship Programs
  • Conference Chair, 2017 Astrobiology Graduate Conference
  • Co-Organizer, 'ALMA's Molecular Universe' Mini-Symposium, 2017 International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy
  • Peer-Review Referee for Nature Communications, Nature Astronomy, Angewandte Chemie, PCCP, JPCA, JCP, ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, JMS, ApJL, ApJ, and A&A

Candidate Statement

The LAD of the AAS has the potential to bring both laboratory and observational groups together in a coherent effort to tackle the most significant lines of inquiry in the field today. Often our community engages in collaborative efforts serendipitously when laboratory and observational work, often temporally separated by many years, meet as new capabilities in one or the other are unlocked. As a result, neither project usually provides exactly what the other requires to completely answer key questions. Rather, I believe that a strong interdisciplinary effort to tackle projects from the ground up in both the lab and at the observatory will produce the major advances of the next decade.

A strong leadership is essential to foster these interactions. I believe I am in an excellent position to do so, as my own research in both fields allows me to be conversant with all members of the community. This experience has given me an awareness of the current states-of-the-art and emerging new directions in Laboratory Astrophysics, particularly in the areas of microwave, (sub)-millimeter, and far-infrared chemistry and astrophysics. As an early-career researcher with a wide network of peers in both laboratory and observational work, I am well situated to foster these interdisciplinary approaches among both new members and emerging leaders. Finally, I believe that I will bring a unique perspective to the Committee regarding both the opportunities and the challenges faced by early-career researchers such as myself as they transition to conducting independent careers in research.

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Michael C. McCarthy


Biography

Professional Title/Position

Associate Director and Senior Scientist

Degrees and Education

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1992

Affiliations

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Research Areas, Topics, and Interests

  • Microwave and laser spectroscopy of highly-reactive molecules
  • Chemistry of the interstellar gas
  • Molecular radio astronomy
  • Origins
  • Molecular structure, properties, and self-assembly

Services, Roles, and Activities

n/a

Professional Experience and Positions

  • Associate Director, Atomic and Molecular Physics Division, 2014-present
  • Chair-Elect, Astrochemistry Subdivision of the Physical Chemistry Division, American Chemical Society, 2017-present
  • Member, Smithsonian Submillimeter Array (SMA) Steering Committee, 2015-present
  • Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy, 2017-present
  • Member, Editorial Advisory Board, ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, 2017-present
  • Member, International Advisory Board for the Austin Symposium on Molecular Structure and Dynamics, 2016-present

Candidate Statement

In many respects, we live in a remarkable time of discovery and inquiry, driven by new observational facilities that have transformed our view of the universe, in no small part because of the important role of laboratory astrophysics. During the past 30 years I have been deeply engaged in experimental molecular physics and astrochemical research. I have witnessed, as well as contributed to, the rapid growth in our understanding of interstellar space with the discovery of ever more complex molecules and the use of molecular matter as exquisite probes of astronomical phenomena. I have also been engaged in a variety of stewardship and advisory activities both locally and nationally. Taken together, I believe this experience and perspective makes me a strong and effective advocate for molecular astrophysics in particular and laboratory astrophysics in general. If selected as a member-at-large, I will work tirelessly as a liaison for the Laboratory As trophysics Division and the AAS as a whole, and I would be honored to serve the community in this capacity.

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