[ASA] Fwd: Happy new year from the ASA

John O'Byrne john.obyrne at sydney.edu.au
Mon Jan 4 10:12:26 AEDT 2016

Dear ASA members,

As we begin the new year, it's a good time to take the opportunity to reflect on some of the events and highlights of the past year.

There were a number of successes, awards and scientific breakthroughs from those in our community - far too many to list everything in a single email - but some achievements that stand out include:
-Shari Breen won a L'Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science Australia Fellowship;
-Warrick Couch was appointed as an ASA honorary fellow;
-Lisa Kewley and Matthew Bailes were awarded ARC lauriate fellowships;
-Nine astronomy groups being rated at ERA 5 "above world standard";
-The large number of future fellowships, DECRAs and ARC DPs and LIEF grants that will ensure Australia's world class astrophysics research can continue in 2016.

One of the highlights of the year was the launch of the 2016-2025 Astronomy Decadal plan. This document serves the whole community, and thanks must go to Stuart Whyithe, the editors, working group leaders and members and all who contributed to the document.

Unfortunately along with the good news, we heard of the passing of two of the society's long-standing members. In January Jim Caswell passed away - a vibrant member of ATNF who contributed to many areas of radio astronomy, Jim had been a member of the ASA since 1976.  Ray Protheroe sadly passed away at age 62 - Ray was an outstanding cosmic ray physicist at Adelaide university. The community was also saddened at the loss of Peter McGregor last year - Peter was well known in the astronomical community for both his research and his astronomical instrumentation.

2015 brought about some changes in Australian telescope access, including a new Australian Keck agreement, the first science from ASKAP BETA being published, progress on GMT, and a funding commitment from the Australian government for the SKA.  The governance of Australian telescope facilities continues to be assessed by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science - the ASA is a representative on the committee and welcomes input from the community at any time.

The ASA's annual scientific meeting was held in Perth in July, and was a vibrant meeting at a fantastic venue, including parallel sessions and a large number of excellent student talks. The meet was preceded by the Harley Wood School for Astronomy held on Rottnest island. Thanks to Cath Trott, Andrew Walsh, the SOC/LOC for the ASM, and Rebecca Lang, Angus Wright and the LOC/SOCs for the Harley Wood school. Other ASA meetings in 2015 included the ANITA theory workshop at ANU, and the Women in Astronomy meeting at the University of Queensland. The ASA council brought in a new code of conduct in 2015, which attendees all future ASA-endorsed activities are expected to follow (see http://asa.astronomy.org.au/code_of_conduct.php)

The ASA council had a number of changes this year - many thanks to Amanda Karakas and Gavin Rowell for their time as ASA councilors, Kate Brooks as councilor, president and immediate past president, and Emily Petroff as student representative, who all finished their terms in July. Special thanks goes to Andrew Hopkins who finished his term as ASA president, and now remains on council as immediate past president. Welcome to newly elected council members Chris Power, Naomi McClure-Griffiths and Stuart Whyithe, and student member Alex Codoreanu. The society wouldn't run without the dedication of council, particularly the work of the longstanding secretaries Marc Duldig and John O'Byrne, and I'd like to extend my personal thanks for their help and support this year.

Looking forward to 2016, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ASA at the ASM in Sydney from July 3-8, and I hope to see many members at this special meeting. Council will continue working towards out goals for 2016, including increasing our engagement and support of student members and raising awareness of a broad range of career opportunities, strategic planning with the ASA chapters, conducting a census of the membership and implementing the Peter McGregor award for instrumentation. We look forward to working with and supporting all our members in this coming year.

Happy new year, and best wishes for a successful 2016!

Virginia Kilborn,
President, ASA

Virginia Kilborn
Chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing
Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology
Swinburne University of Technology
Ph (w) +61 (0)3 9214 4380

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