Date sent: 30 May 2016, 16:36

From: Claus Leitherer (leitherer@stsci.edu)

Subject: Report on the IAU EC Meeting in Mexico City

Dear Members of IAU Division J, Galaxies & Cosmology:

The Executive Committee (EC) of the International Astronomical Union met in Mexico City during the week of May 2, 2016 following the kind invitation by IAU President Silvia Torres (UNAM, Mexico City). The Division Presidents of all nine IAU Division were invited to attend as well. In order to keep you informed of current and future plans and actions of the IAU, I am sending you a summary of the discussion points which are relevant to our Division.

Please be aware that some sessions were held jointly with the Division Presidents (DP), and others were restricted to the EC members. The current members of the EC are at http://www.iau.org/administration/executive_bodies/executive_committee/.

The divisional webpages will receive a complete make-over, both in terms of functionality and appearance. The transition to the new design is underway. The IAU will provide templates for all Divisions and will undertake a gradual migration of all the “external” content into the “internal” pages located on the server located at the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The goal is to complete the transition by July. The Divisions themselves will have control over the webpages. The current IAU link to our webpage is at https://www.iau.org/science/scientific_bodies/divisions/J/.

The contract with Cambridge University Press  as our publisher will expire in 2018. A working group has been established to make recommendations on the future of the IAU proceedings. The recommendations are due by the end of the year. Over the next few months I would like to receive your input on this. Specifically, I would like to hear from you how you view the value of traditional proceedings compared to IAU hosted permanent web pages containing a summary, the presentations, and webcast recordings.

The selection of the nine IAU symposia for 2017 was made. They are:

  • IAUS 331: SN1987A, 30 years later
  • IAUS 332: Astrochemistry VII — Through the Cosmos from Galaxies to Planets
  • IAUS 333: Peering towards Cosmic Dawn
  • IAUS 334: Rediscovering our Galaxy
  • IAUS 336: Astrophysical Masers: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe
  • IAUS 337: Pulsar Astrophysics: The next 50 years
  • IAUS 338: Gravitational Wave Astrophysics: Early Results from GW Searches and Electromagnetic Counterparts
  • IAUS 339: Southern Horizons in Time-Domain Astronomy

IAUS 336 is the only symposium coordinated by our Division. For more information on these symposia, go to http://www.iau.org/science/meetings/future/symposia/.

The IAU anti-harassment statement (http://www.iau.org/static/archives/announcements/pdf/ann16007a.pdf) was discussed and endorsed by the President. Organizers of future IAU symposia should follow these guidelines during their meetings.

The structure of future IAU General Assemblies (GA) was discussed. Among other topics, the following issues were raised:

  • Disallowing virtually identical talks at different meetings during the GA
  • Improving coordination between symposia/division meetings/focus meetings to avoid duplication
  • Decreasing the number of focus meetings
  • Introducing innovative structures of the meetings (townhall style, panel discussions)
  • Improving poster integration by making short oral poster presentations mandatory at symposia
  • Revising the registration fee structure to offer discounts for members, junior members or registrants who do not attend over the full duration of the meeting.

There is an ongoing discussion of introducing prizes for the best Ph.D. theses in each Division. The major goal is to engage junior members and encourage them to become IAU members. A recommendation to the EC by the Division Presidents is due by this summer. I welcome your input.

The preparations for the GA in Vienna are well underway. The EC was very pleased with the status. See http://astronomy2018.univie.ac.at/. Please mark your calendars!

As always, the Steering Committee of your Division J welcomes your input. Please send email to me (leitherer@stsci.edu) or any other Steering Committee member

Claus Leitherer
(President, Division J)

 

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