Letters of Intent received in 2017

LoI 2019-1991
Laboratory Astrophysics: from Observations to Interpretation

Date: 1 April 2019 to 5 April 2019
Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Contact: Farid Salama (farid.salama@nasa.gov)
Coordinating division: Division B Facilities, Technologies and Data Science
Chair of SOC: Farid Salama (NASA-Ames Research Center)
Chair of LOC: Helen Fraser (The Open University)

 

Topics

1- Star formation in the near universe: contribution of laboratory astrophysics toward the understanding and the planning
of astronomical observations (ALMA Herschel, JWST, Spitzer, SOFIA, Gaia)
2- Solar System formation and the pre-solar nebula: contribution of laboratory astrophysics toward the understanding
and the planning of astronomical observations (Osiris REx, Stardust, Rosetta, Plank microgravity).
3- Stellar & solar systems: contribution of laboratory astrophysics toward the understanding and the planning of
astronomical observations (Soho, Juno, Cassini, New Horizons, ELT, TMT, GMT, VLT)
4- Stars, stellar populations and the cosmic matter cycle: contribution of laboratory astrophysics toward the
understanding and the planning of astronomical observations (ALMA, Herschel, SKA, VLT, ELT, TMT, GMT, Gaia)
5- Reaching beyond our galaxy: from extra galactic chemistry to dark matter: contribution of laboratory astrophysics
toward the understanding and the planning of extragalactic observations (ELT, OWL, SKA, WFIRST, JWST, Euclid, radio
astronomy).

 

Rationale

Astronomy is witnessing a new and exciting era of discovery with the advent of new powerful telescopes (e.g., ALMA)
and the imminent launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which all promise to push the frontiers of science.
Advances in Astronomy, however, are not solely the domain of the observational astronomer, but rely heavily on the
diagnostics and expertise provided by the wider physics and chemistry communities whether through detector
development, spectroscopy, models or studies of astrophysical processes. Thus, our quest to understand the cosmos
rests firmly on theoretical and experimental research in many different branches of science, which taken together, are
known as laboratory astrophysics. Laboratory astrophysics provides the tools to interpret and to guide astronomical
observations and delivers the numbers needed to quantitatively model the processes taking place in space; it offers a
bridge between observers and modelers. It is timely to organize a Symposium to assess the past, current and future
contribution of laboratory astrophysics to astronomy and how to best prepare to address the key science questions that
will undoubtedly come with the new astronomical data. Thus, the main goal of the proposed Symposium will be to
connect Laboratory Astrophysicists with Astronomers by bringing together expert data providers and data users of
laboratory and astronomical data and to ensure their effective integration. With the establishment of IAU Commission B5
in Laboratory Astrophysics in the IAU GA in 2015, we now have the ideal opportunity and the tool to bring the broad
astronomy community together with the laboratory astrophysicists in a dedicated symposium where the participants will
benefit from each other expertise as well as become aware of each other’s needs.

The proposed Symposium is intended to synthesize the state-of-the art of the field of laboratory astrophysics, and
discuss open questions to be solved in the next decade. In particular, the meeting will stress how laboratory studies can
best address the needs of astronomy and stimulate new observations. The proposed Symposium will be divided into
sessions centered around astronomical environments starting from the processes that govern star birth, through presolar
environments, to (exo)-planetary systems, planetary atmospheres and our own Sun, through star death and stellar
populations and the chemistry and physics of the nearby universe, right to high redshift galaxies. As a result, the
Symposium will discuss atomic and molecular data, plasma physics, nuclear physics, and particle physics and their
application to various fields, such as interplanetary, interstellar, and intergalactic matter, (exo) planetary and stellar
atmospheres. The common objective of all sessions is to help maximize the science return from current and upcoming
major astronomical telescopes with special attention to flagship missions such as ALMA, Rosetta, HST and JWST. This
proposed Symposium is envisioned as the first in a series of a 3 - 5 year cycle of IAU symposia. Participation by
students, under-represented groups, and members of emerging countries will be encouraged.

This will be a truly multidisciplinary symposium that will bring together astronomers with theoretical and experimental
chemists and physicists to discuss the state-of-the-art research in their respective disciplines and how their combined
expertise can address important open questions in astronomy and astrophysics that derive from astronomical
observations with new instruments. We have experienced at the last IAU GA in Hawaii that there is a broad audience
among IAU members belonging to a wide spectrum of IAU Commissions and Divisions who would be genuinely
interested in this Symposium (see attached Appendix).

We have identified a number of themes that can be contained in a program held over 5 days, and are structured in a
morning or afternoon session for each, one of which will be on ‘hot topics’. Under each theme there will be a review the
field followed by presentations of recent results. Ample time will be devoted to discussions. The program chairs will be
instructed to identify the challenges and to stimulate discussion on ways in which the field may advance through
contributions by astronomers, theoreticians and experimentalists. Following IAU guidelines and goals of Commission B5,
we will include speakers from the wider community to ensure gender and geographic balance as well as an appropriate
balance of junior and senior speakers.

Appendix: The proposed Symposium is expected to attract a wide audience within the IAU as illustrated by the large
number of IAU Divisions and Commissions that would potentially benefit from the output generated by the proposed
Symposium:
Home Division: Division B Facilities, Technologies and Data Science; Home Commission: Commission 5 Laboratory
Astrophysics; Commission B4 Radio Astronomy; Commission B2 Data and Documentation; Commission B1
Computational Astrophysics
Other Divisions: Division D High Energy Phenomena and Fundamental Physics; Inter-Division D-G-H-J Commission:
Galaxy Spectral Energy Distributions; Division E Sun and Heliosphere; Commission E3: Solar impact throughout the
Heliosphere; Division F Planetary Systems and Bioastronomy; Commission F1 Meteors, Meteorites and Interplanetary
Dust; Commission F2 Exoplanets and the Solar system ; Commission F3 Astrobiology; Division G Stars and Stellar
Physics; Commission G5 Stellar and Planetary atmospheres; Division H Interstellar Matter and Local Universe;
Commission H2: Astrochemistry; Commission H3: Planetary Nebulae.

Nominations for the members of a candidate SOC:
Farid Salama (Chair), USA, Paul Barklem, Sweden, Helen Fraser, UK, Thomas Henning, Germany, Christine Joblin, France, Sun Kwok, China, Harold Linnartz, Netherlands, Lyudmila Mashonkina, Russia, Tom Millar, UK, Osama Shalabiea, Egypt, Gianfranco Vidali, USA, Feilu Wang, China, Giulio Del- Zanna, UK