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2014-2015 Annual Report

Laboratory Astrophysics Division

Chair: Steven R. Federman – University of Toledo
Vice Chair: Farid Salama – NASA Ames
Treasurer: R. Paul Drake – University of Michigan
Secretary: Daniel Wolf Savin – Columbia University
Member at Large (Atoms): John Black – Chalmers University of Technology
Member at Large (Nuclei): Ed Brown – Michigan State University
Member at Large (Planetary Science): Nancy Janet Chanover – New Mexico State University
Member at Large (Molecules): Karin Oberg – Harvard University
Member at Large (Dust and Ices): Gianfranco Vidali – Syracuse University

The Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD) came into being at the Anchorage AAS meeting in June 2012. The second election resulted in new committee members in the areas of molecular and nuclear physics; the winners were announced at the business meeting at the Boston AAS meeting in June 2014. LAD currently has over 110 members, with the majority being full members (80). The officers and committee members have publicized LAD at a number of national and international meetings to encourage the community of users and providers to join LAD (see Chronology below). As of 31 March, 2015, $3752 in contributions toward the Laboratory Astrophysics Prize sponsored by LAD, and $8474 in additional contributions, have been received.

Daniel Wolf Savin maintains the distribution list for LAD, and Farid Salama updates the Web page on the AAS server. Otherwise, the various activities for the most part take place through email consultation, with one of the officers taking the lead.

A number of highlights have occurred over the past year. Prof. Sara Seager (MIT) gave a plenary lecture at the Boston AAS meeting; her topic was “Mapping the Nearest Stars for Exotic Habitable Worlds.” LAD also held a business meeting in Boston and ran a series of six sessions; “Bridging Laboratory and Astrophysics” included sessions on atoms, molecules, dust and ice, plasmas, planetary science, and nuclear and particle physics. The format for each session was two 30-minute presentations and two contributed 15-minute talks. In addition, there were two joint sessions with SPD on solar plasma physics; each session had 6 presentations. There was also a poster session that remained for the duration of the AAS meeting.

The inaugural Laboratory Astrophysics Prize went to Dr. Louis Allamandola of NASA’s Ames Research Center. He will give an invited talk at the 2016 AAS/LAD meeting in San Diego. Nominations are being sought for the next prize, as well as a prize for a young researcher in laboratory astrophysics.

Another highlight was the success of our joint proposal with Commission 14 (Atomic and Molecular Data) of the IAU for a Focus Meeting at the IAU General Assembly in Hawaii in August, 2015. The goal is to help bridge laboratory astrophysics and astrochemistry with astronomy by bringing together expert providers and users of laboratory and astronomical data. This effort is led by Farid Salama, Steve Federman, and Lyudmila Mashonkina, who is the President of Commission 14. Further information is available at .

We have sought connections with other Divisions of the AAS. A special session devoted to laboratory astrophysics was held at the HEAD meeting, 17-21 August, 2014, in Chicago, IL and at the DPS meeting, 9-14 November, 2014, in Tucson, AZ. Laboratory astrophysics presentations will be included in the 2015 DPS meeting, led by the efforts of Nancy Chanover and Murthy Gudipati.

The officers and members-at-large of LAD are concerned that membership has not grown this past year. For the coming year, the officers and committee members will continue to encourage participation by colleagues, both users and providers of data for astronomy and astrophysics. The LAD recruitment campaign targets colleagues with research activities aligned with LAD activities who are not members of either the AAS or LAD or who are AAS members and are not currently affiliated with LAD. Moreover, those conducting research in nuclear and particle physics traditionally have been involved in activities organized by Divisions of the APS. Further collaborative events with these APS Divisions seem warranted.

LAD Events' Chronology:
• June 2014: LAD second meeting at AAS 224th in Boston, MA.
• August 2014: Laboratory astrophysics session at HEAD meeting in Chicago, IL.
• October 2014: Steve Federman and Farid Salama attended the AAS Leadership Meeting.
• October 2104: Farid Salama described LAD at AstroRennes 2014: Physics and Chemistry of the ISM, organized by the French National Program of Physique et Chimie des Milieux Interstellaire et Circumstellaire (PCMI).
• November 2014: Laboratory astrophysics session at DPS meeting in Tucson, AZ.
• December 2014: Announcement of Laboratory Astrophysics Prize to Lou Allamandola.
• February 2015: Farid Salama described LAD at the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology (IRAP) CNRS, University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France.
• April 2015: Daniel Wolf Savin sent out a call for nominations to fill two Member-at-Large positions on the Committee. The Nominating Committee consisted of Peter Beiersdorfer (LNLL), Chair, Adwin Boogert (Caltech), and Els Peeters (Univ. Of Western Ontario).
• August 2015: LAD-sponsored Focus Meeting and its next Business Meeting take place during IAU General Assembly.