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2015-2016 Annual Report

2015-2016 Annual Report

Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD)

Chair: Farid Salama – NASA Ames Research Center
Vice Chair: Randall Smith – Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Past Chair: Steven R. Federman – University of Toledo
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 (Molecules): Jan Cami - University Western Ontario
Member at Large (Planetary Science): Nancy Chanover – New Mexico State University
Member at Large (Molecules): Karin Oberg – Harvard University
Member at Large (Particles): Oswald Siegmund - UC Berkeley
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 third election resulted in new committee members in the areas of molecular and particle physics; the winners were announced at the LAD business meeting at the Oahu AAS meeting in August 2015. LAD currently has over 150 members, with the majority being full members (100). The officers and committee members have publicized LAD and Laboratory Astrophysics 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 2016, $5,742 in contributions toward the Laboratory Astrophysics Prize sponsored by LAD and $11,152 in additional contributions has been received.

Daniel Wolf Savin maintains the distribution list for LAD, and Farid Salama updates the Web page on the AAS server. They are supported in these tasks by the IT office. Otherwise, the various activities for the most part take place through email consultation.

A number of highlights have occurred over the past year. LAD submitted and won a joint proposal with Commission 14 (Atomic and Molecular Data) of the IAU for a joint Focus Meeting at the IAU General Assembly in Hawaii in August 2015. The goal was to help bridge laboratory astrophysics with astronomy by bringing together expert providers and users of laboratory and astronomical data. Two LAD Officers, Farid Salama and Steve Federman led this effort in collaboration with Lyudmila Mashonkina, who was the President of IAU Commission 14 at that time. Two LAD Officers, Paul Drake and Daniel Savin, served on the Science Organizing Committee of the joint meeting. Further information is available at Following a format similar to the LAD Annual meeting format, the joint meeting ran a series of seven sessions on Bridging Laboratory Astrophysics and Astronomy that included sessions on atoms, molecules, dust and ice, plasmas, planetary science, and nuclear and particle physics along with a summary and round table session. The format for each session was two 30-minute invited presentations and three contributed 15-minute talks. There was also a poster session that remained for the duration of the Focus meeting. The AAS Meeting Office provided the logistics for the joint meeting. Finally, LAD also held its annual business meeting in Oahu to report the activities of the Division and answer questions from the community. The minutes of the meeting are posted on the LAD website and can be found at

The inaugural, 2015 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. The 2016 Laboratory Astrophysics Prize went to Dr. Peter Beiersdorfer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Inaugural Early Career Award went to Dr. François Lique from University Le Havre (France). They will give invited talks at the 2016 AAS/LAD meeting in San Diego. Nominations are being sought for the next prize, as well as for the next early career award in laboratory astrophysics.

A series of six sessions are planned for the 2016 LAD Annual Meeting: “Bridging Laboratory and Astrophysics”. The lead organizer for the 2016 meeting is Randall Smith. This year, the sessions will cover the full range of LAD topics with special focus on interplay with observatories such as ALMA, Astro-H (Hitomi) and NuSTAR and will include sessions on atoms, molecules, dust and ice, plasmas, planetary science, and nuclear and particle physics. More information can be found at

We have continued to seek connections with other Divisions of the AAS. A special session devoted to laboratory astrophysics was held at the HEAD meeting, 3-7 April 2016, in Naples, FL. The session, organized by Daniel Savin, included three 30-min presentations. Laboratory astrophysics presentations were also included in the 2015 DPS meeting, led by the efforts of Nancy Chanover and Murthy Gudipati. The same format including laboratory astrophysics presentations embedded in the DPS topical sessions is planned for the DPS 2016 meeting.

A LAD recruitment campaign was launched this year with the active support of the Memberships Office to help grow the membership of the Division. The LAD recruitment campaign has targeted 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. 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.

LAD Events' Chronology:

  • August 2015: LAD 2015 annual meeting held as a joint meeting with IAU Commission 14 at the XXIXth General Assembly in Oahu, HI.
  • August 2015: LAD annual business meeting held at the AAS 226th Meeting in Oahu, HI.
  • August 2015: Paul Drake and Randall Smith members of the DOE Frontiers of Plasma Physics white paper panel.
  • October 2015: Farid Salama and Randall Smith attended the AAS Leadership Meeting.
  • April 2016: Laboratory astrophysics session organized by Daniel Savin at the HEAD meeting in Naples, FL.
  • November 2015: Laboratory astrophysics presentations embedded in DPS meeting sessions in Tucson, AZ.
  • December 2015: Announcement of the 2016 Laboratory Astrophysics Prize to Peter Beiersdorfer and of the Inaugural Early Career Award to François Lique.
  • February 2016: Farid Salama appointed the Nominating Committee for 2016. The Nominating Committee consisted of Patrick Hartigan (Rice U), Chair, Nancy Chanover (NMSU) and Francisca Kemper (ASIAA).
  • February 2016: Gianfranco Vidali co-organizer of the Second Experimental Laboratory Astrophysics Workshop held in Kauai, HI.
  • March 2016: Jan Cami (lead organizer) and Farid Salama attended the ESO VLT consortium on Diffuse Interstellar Bands’ workshop, at the Lorentz Center, Leiden, Netherlands where they described LAD and discussed the role of Laboratory astrophysics.
  • April 2016: Daniel Wolf Savin sent out a call for nominations to fill two Member-at-Large positions on the Committee.
  • April 2016: Farid Salama described LAD at the Max Planck Institute of Astronomy (MPIA), Heidelberg, Germany.
  • June 2016: LAD 2016 Annual Meeting and its 2016 Business Meeting take place during AAS 228th Meeting.