This award will provide support to subsidize registration for 50 students attending the 2010 meeting of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society (HEAD and AAS), and for boards on which scientific posters will be displayed.
The HEAD meeting is an international forum for the dissemination of the latest results in high-energy astrophysics, and a crossroads for interaction among scientists working in the diverse sub-fields of high-energy astrophysics. The broader impacts of this proposal include the dissemination of leading scientific efforts to a broad scientific and international community, as well as the involvement of graduate students.
The High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society (hereafter HEAD and AAS) is the world's largest international professional body devoted to studies in high-energy astrophysics. High energy astrophysics is the study of objects and phenomena in the Universe that produce incredible amounts of energy, amounts that dwarf the output of our own Sun, such as superovas (exploding stars), the cores of many galaxies (that shoot out mysterious and powerful jets of energetic particles) and exteremely luminous objects like Quasars, remote galaxies that shine so brightly they look like nearby stars. The major professional activity of the HEAD is to hold an international scientific meeting with ~350-400 attendees every 1.5-2 years at which the important results in all areas of high-energy astrophysics are presented to the scientific community, and to the domestic (US) and international press. This projected supported early-career scientists so they could attend the meeting in 2010 through a reduced registration fee. The HEAD meeting has substantial intellectual merit as it is the leading international forum for the dissemination of the latest results in high-energy astrophysics, and a crossroads for interaction among scientists working in the diverse sub-fields of high-energy astrophysics. HEAD meetings bring together scientists working on topics ranging from stellar coronae to gravitational wave detection. In addition to invited and contributed plenary talks on wide-ranging research topics, the meetings include contributed special sessions proposed by participants. Many of these are learning workshops dealing with research techniques (e.g., astrostatistics), new datasets (e.g., new atomic data for X-ray spectroscopy), or new research opportunities (e.g., multi-wavelength monitoring of blazars). Additional sessions deal with new instrumentation and other activities preparatory for the future health of the field. High-energy astrophysics often involves large collaborative projects (e.g., LIGO and the Antarctic neutrino telescopes) with intensive technological development and long lead times. It is easy for young scientists to get buried in the details of their chosen specialties. HEAD meetings have a broader impact by providing a way to place the field in a broader context, particularly for the benefit of scientists early in their careers. Thus, HEAD meetings are beneficial for the development of astronomers not just astronomy. There is also a significant component of outreach to the general public --- new discoveries in high-energy astrophysics are often announced at HEAD meetings, and are well-covered by the press, who attend free-of-charge and widely report on the results presented at the meeting through major media outlets like MSNBC, Fox News, CNN and the major networks as well as online resources. Also, HEAD meetings are the venues for awarding the Schramm Prize for popular science writing related to high-energy astrophysics, and the (new) HEAD Dissertation Prize for the best Ph.D. thesis in high-energy astrophysics.