President’s Report (March 31, 2013)

 

Hello and welcome to the new CASCA website! I hope you will find these pages easy to navigate, and all information readily available. Compared to our old website, the improvements are many, but perhaps the most important is that this new website has been designed to encourage participation and feedback from the community. For instance, comments pertaining to ground- or space-based initiatives, as well as the implementation of our Long Range Plan, can be submitted directly — through on line forms — to the Ground-based Astronomy Committee (GAC), the Joint Committee for Space Astronomy (JCSA), or the LRP Implementation Committee (LRPIC). Dedicated web forms are available to submit comments to the CASCA Board, announcements to the entire membership (through the “CASCA Exploder”), and news items for the rotating display on the front page. Please give this new website a test drive! Of course, suggestions for improvements are always welcome.

The CASCA website is not the only activity the CASCA Board has been busy with during the past months. I do realize that the membership might not always be aware of the activities undertaken by the Board, and to correct this deficiency, I intend to post regular President’s reports in conjunction with the publication of our quarterly Newsletter, Cassiopeia. This is the first such report. Having to catch up, I am afraid it’s a bit lengthy, but I hope you will find it useful.

 

CASCA Awards

Every year, CASCA recognizes outstanding achievements of members of our community, at all career stages. It is a great privilege to congratulate the recipients of this year’s CASCA awards: Dr. John B. Hutchings (Executive Award for Outstanding Service) for sustained contributions that have strengthened the Canadian astronomical community; Dr. James E. Hesser (Qilak award) for his contributions to public understanding and appreciation of astronomy in Canada; Prof. Victoria Kaspi (Martin Award) for her significant contributions to astronomical research; and Dr. Yasuhiro Hasegawa (Plaskett Medal) for the most outstanding doctoral thesis in astronomy or astrophysics of the past two years. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the members of CASCA’s Awards committee for their hard work in selecting this year’s awardees.

 

 

For more than four decades, Dr. John B. Hutchings, the recipient of CASCA’s Executive Award for Outstanding Service, has charted a course of excellence for Canadian astronomy, setting the highest standards in scientific achievements, technical contributions, and service to the community.

A native of South Africa, Dr. Hutchings joined NRC in 1967, after graduating from Cambridge University. During his long and distinguished career, Dr. Hutchings has received numerous awards and honors, including the Beals Award from the Canadian Astronomical Society in 1982, the Gold Medal from the Science Council of British Columbia in 1983, and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. He was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1987. Although he formally retired from NRC in January 2012, this has had no effect on his commitment to strengthening the role of astronomy within Canada.

The author of over 450 papers in refereed journals, Dr. Hutchings is in the top 0.5% of most cited astrophysicists worldwide. He has worked on remarkably diverse topics including massive stars, stellar winds, X-ray binaries, novae, cataclysmic variables, the interstellar medium, active galaxies and quasars, radio galaxies, and high-redshift galaxy clusters. Often working on astronomy’s forefront topics, from his early career Dr. Hutchings has been an indefatigable champion of space astronomy, leading Canadian participation in a series of key missions, including the International Ultraviolet Explorer, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer, Astrosat and the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope, and the James Webb Space Telescope.

In particular, beginning in the early 1980s, Dr. Hutchings worked tirelessly to secure Canadian participation in FUSE, negotiating access policies that enabled Canadian scientists to gain greater access than would be expected given Canada’s share of the costs, and leading the design of FUSE’s Fine Error Sensor (FES) camera, a critical system responsible for the precise tracking of the telescope that ultimately helped to open the door to Canada’s participation in JWST. From the initial phases of JWST’s mission design, Dr. Hutchings worked closely with the CSA and NASA to support negotiations that resulted in Canada being responsible for the design and construction of two of JWST’s critical instruments: the Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS), and the Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS). Dr. Hutchings has been Canadian Project Scientist for JWST from 2001 to 2012, as well as Principal Investigator for the FGS.

Finally, Dr. Hutchings has been a steady voice and leader in many national and international committees. In Canada, he is a key contributor to CASCA/CSA’s Joint Committee for Space Astronomy, and a member of CASCA’s Ground Based Astronomy committee, of the Coalition for Astronomy TMT Planning Committee, and of CSA’s Euclid Science Advisory Committee. He is currently chair of CASCA’s Long Range Plan Implementation Committee, which is actively working to establish a framework for implementing and operating Canadian astronomical facilities in the coming decade.

 

Dr. Hesser, the recipient of this year Qilak award, has been a prominent figure in Canadian and international astronomy for many years. The director of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory since 1986, Dr. Hesser is a past president of both CASCA (2004-2006) and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (1987-1989), and a former vice-president of the American Astronomical Society (1991-1994). In 1997, Dr. Hesser was one of the first recipients of the prestigious Michael Smith Award, given through NSERC Canada to “honour people and groups that are inspirational in the way that they promote science to the general public”. He received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 in recognition of his services to the National Research Council and to all aspects of astronomy. In 2004, he received the CASCA Executive Award for exceptional service to CASCA, and he holds the title of Honorary President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC).

With a career-long commitment to astronomy education and public outreach, Dr. Hesser has led by example to forge an effective, efficient partnership between the main organizations of professional and amateur astronomy in Canada: CASCA, RASC, and the Fédération des astronomes amateurs du Québec (FAAQ). In collaboration with others, he worked diligently to establish respectful partnerships with Canada’s Aboriginal communities to preserve and celebrate indigenous knowledge of astronomy, and to illustrate pathways by which Aboriginal youth can aspire to and enter careers in science and technology. A longtime supporter of community outreach programmes, he often gives enthusiastic talks at astronomy conferences and other venues across Canada to encourage, motivate, and inspire his professional and amateur colleagues to participate in EPO activities.

Perhaps most significantly, Dr Hesser worked tirelessly to lead International Year of Astronomy (IYA) efforts within Canada. From 2005 to well beyond 2009, he led and guided this highly visible international project by serving as project as Canada’s “single point of contact”, and as chair of the Executive Committee and Advisory Board for IYA within Canada. Under his direction, the IYA provided a “Galileo Moment” (i.e., “an engaging astronomy experience”) to more than two million people in Canada through more than 3600 separate events, from coast to coast to coast, and in both official languages. Always mindful of the need to cultivate lasting partnerships that sustain public interest in astronomy, Dr. Hesser has been a driving force behind ongoing “Beyond IYA” efforts in Canada.

 

 

The recipient of the Peter G. Martin Award, Dr. Kaspi, received her Ph.D. in 1993 from Princeton University, under the supervisor of Nobel laureate Joseph Taylor. Following postdoctoral fellowships at Caltech and JPL, she was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1997 to 2002. In 1999, she moved to McGill University, where she is currently the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology. Her numerous awards and distinctions include the Annie Jump Cannon Prize (1998), Steacie Prize (2006), Rutherford Medal (2007) and John C. Polanyi Award (2011). She is a Fellow of both the Royal Society, and the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2011 was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

The author of more than 200 refereed publications, Prof. Kaspi’s research interests focus neutron stars, radio pulsars and magnetars, with an emphasis on observational radio and X-ray astrophysics. Scientific highlights from Prof. Kaspi’s career include pioneering efforts in high-precision radio timing of millisecond pulsars, the use of binary pulsars in tests of General Relativity, the connection between pulsars and magnetars, and the study of highly magnetic radio pulsars in the field.

 

 

Dr. Yasuhiro Hasegawa, the recipient of the 2013 J.S. Plaskett Medal, completed his doctoral studies in 2012 at McMaster University. His thesis, entitled  “Planet Traps in Protoplanetary Disk and the Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems”, was carried out under the supervision of Prof. Ralph Pudritz. This work explores in detail — from both a theoretical and computational perspective — the possibility that inhomogeneous structure in protostellar accretion disks can create ‘planet traps’ where major planets are built up primarily through the capture of rapidly migrating planetary cores, followed by the accretion of dense gas.

 

 

Once again, CASCA extends its congratulations to Dr. Hutchings, Dr. Hesser, Prof. Kaspi, and Dr. Hasegawa for their important contributions.

 

2013 CASCA Annual General Meeting (AGM)

The 2013 CASCA AGM will take place on the campus of the University of British Columbia on May 28-30. The AGM will include special sessions on early science from ALMA and results from Plank, as well as dedicated sessions on Extrasolar Planets, Stellar Chronology and 21-cm Cosmology. I am excited and am very much looking forward to our two keynote Prize Lectures this year: the Helen Sawyer Hogg Public Lecture, which will be given by Professor Malcolm Longair (Cambridge University), and the Petrie Prize Lecture, which will be delivered by Professor Francoise Combes (Observatoire de Paris).

I am also pleased to announce that plans for the 2014 AGM are well underway. The AGM will take place in the second week of June in Quebec City, and will be hosted by the Universite Laval.

 

TMT and Coalition Activities

The Thirty Meter Telescope is the highest ranked ground-based initiative in the 2010 Long Range Plan for Canadian Astronomy. Although the US National Science Foundation (NSF) has not yet guaranteed construction funds (and such funds, if allocated, will not start flowing until late in the decade), the selection of TMT amongst the Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope options has signaled to the international partners that the US Government is now fully engaged. The Indian Government has indicated its intention to commit at the 10% level, while, in Japan, the TMT project has been approved at the Cabinet level, with ~$16M to be allocated over the next two years. Recently, it was announced that Yale University has also joined the project at the 5% level, which will nominally be an adjustment within the overall US share. With construction expected to start in 2014, the international partners are drafting a Master Project Agreement to be signed by all Scientific Authorities (ACURA for Canada) by July 1, 2013. The final decision on whether the project will move ahead is expected no later than April 1, 2014, by which point the Financial Authorities (NRC in the case of Canada) will be asked to sign the agreement. To do so, NRC will need the project to be approved in the 2014 federal budget.

Therefore, securing federal funds is now urgent for continued Canadian participation in the project. The Coalition, with the help of a specially appointed TMT Planning Committee, has taken several initiatives in this regard. A pre-budget submission (solicited each year by the Government) was drafted in July 2012. While no funds were requested in the 2013 budget, the submission stated that “the Coalition anticipates a funding request for the 2014 federal budget and urges the Government to fully participate in the international funding discussions that are now getting underway.” The pre-budget submission was followed by a positive meeting, on October 12, 2012, between Coalition representatives and Mr. Patrick McIntyre (Director of Policy, Office of the Minister of State for Science and Technology) and Mr. Robert Dunlop (Assistant Deputy Minister, Science and Technology Sector Industry Canada). Soon after, NRC reaffirmed its commitment to the astronomy and astrophysics programs, and its intention to represent Canada on the TMT Agreement Development Team. In December 2012, a 24-page document describing the TMT project was sent to all MPs (as well as to VPs of Research and other representatives in academia); Minister Tony Clement, chair of the Treasury Board, responded with a letter requesting to be kept apprised of progress.

At this time, the Coalition is continuing its efforts to update the Federal Government and Industry Canada on TMT developments, with the goal of submitting a request for construction costs (US$299M over 8 years) in the 2014 federal budget.

 

Update on the Long Range Plan.

There has been steady progress towards achieving the top priorities outlined in the 2010 Long Range Plan for Canadian Astronomy. The LRP Implementation Committee (LRPIC), which was established in 2011 by the CASCA Board, has been steadily monitoring progress and, if necessary, advising on re-prioritizations, in consultation with CASCA’s Ground-Based Astronomy Committee (GAC) and Joint Committee for Space Astronomy (JCSA). I’d like to thank the members of the LRPIC, GAC and JCSA for providing this essential service to the community.

With TMT, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) was the top LPR priority for large ground-based projects. Canada formally joined the SKA Organization in March of 2012, with NRC contributing financially to the SKA Detailed Design Phase. As the scientific planning for SKA ramps up, a Canadian SKA Science Advisory Committee (CSSAC) is being established. Members of the CSSAC will be appointed jointly by the Canadian SKA Consortium Board and by the CASCA Board, and will report to both.

The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity-Mapping Experiment (CHIME) was the top LRP priority for “Medium” ground-based projects. CHIME will map the distribution of neutral hydrogen at redshifts between 0.8 and 2.5 in a quest to measure the evolution of dark energy. A collaboration between UBC, McGIll, and the University of Toronto, CHIME was recently awarded $4.6 million in funding through a CFI grant to UBC. Combined with funds from the provincial governments and the partner institutions, the allocation is sufficient to secure construction and operations of the radio telescope, that will be built at DRAO, in Penticton. On behalf of the CASCA Board, I would like to congratulate the CHIME team for this outstanding achievement.

Another facility that figured prominently in the LRP is CFHT. Plans for new instrumentation (still underway at the time the LRP was written) proceeded with the selection of SPIRou, a high-resolution NIR spectro-polarimeter, but have stalled following SPIRou’s Preliminary Design Review. In Dec. 2012, the CFHT Board agreed to consider SPIRou as a guest instrument if construction funds can be secured, and solicited input from the community for the development of new, low-cost capabilities that can be deployed on a timescale of 3 years or less. Proposals for such capabilities are due on August 23, 2013, and the CFHT User’s Meeting — to be held in Campbell River on May 6-8 — will be an important forum for gathering community input. Meanwhile, the Next Generation CFHT (ngCFHT) project is gaining considerable traction. ngCFHT is a 10m telescope, to be built on the original CFHT pier, equipped with a highly multiplexed, wide field, medium to high resolution spectrograph. The project is proposing to start redeveloping the site in late 2017, with first light expected in ~2021. The first ngCFHT workshop took place in Hilo, HI, on March 27-29, 2013, and was attended by close to 100 participants from Canada, France, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the US.

Moving to space-based priorities, participation in Astro-H was secured by the CSA, who is funding the metrology system for the mission through a contract to Neptec. There are currently three Canadians on the Astro-H Science Working Group.

More difficult have been the negotiations to join the Euclid consortium. These continue, but must face the hard reality of a decreasing CSA budget. A dark energy mission was the top LRP priority for space-based initiatives. In spite of significant work, we have unfortunately now missed the opportunity to contribute hardware to Euclid. A different option is to provide the Euclid consortium with the (suitably processed) PanSTARRS data that is needed to enable the required level of precision in the photometric redshifts. NRC’s Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC) and an advisory group have engaged in lengthy negotiations with the PanSTARRS collaboration, although an agreement has yet to be reached. The level of funding needed to go the PanSTARRS route is within the CSA budget, but will likely require re-allocation of existing funds. The Joint Committee for Space Astronomy (JCSA) has recently undertaken a prioritization exercise and suggested to the CSA trade-offs that would allow to support Euclid participation. The door on Euclid will likely close in the summer of 2013, so time is of the essence.

A parallel space based initiative that figured prominently in the LPR, the Canadian Space Telescope, or CASTOR (Cosmological Advanced Survey Telescope for Optical and UV Research), was strongly endorsed by the JCSA. After submitting a final concept study in March 2012, the project is currently awaiting CSA’s approval to advance to the next design stage and to seek partnership with other interested Agencies.

Last but not least, the LPR recommended sustained funding for High Performance Computing (HPC). In Canada, all computing resources beyond desktops are centralized under Compute Canada (CC) and its regional nodes (Westgrid, SHARCNET, SciNET, HPCVL, Calcul Quebec and ACENet). This is true not just for astronomy, but for all academic disciplines, including the physical sciences, engineering, health sciences, social sciences and humanities. There are advantages and disadvantages to this centralization, but what is clear is that given the diverse needs, requirements and long-term goals of each discipline, we must be proactive in ensuring that the CASCA community is well served by the new CC structure. Compute Canada just incorporated in October 2012, and in January 2013 elected a new Board and CEO. Currently, its governance does not include a voice speaking for researcher across Canada, and this is a serious concern for the community.

CASCA’s Computation and Data Committee (CDC) is monitoring the HPC situation and has taken a number of initiatives to ensure that the new Compute Canada meets the HPC needs of the astronomical community, including participating in a recent meeting between researchers from various disciplines and CC’s CEO, Bill Applebe. Following the advice of the CDC, the CASCA Board is supporting the establishment of a CC advisory committee with representatives chosen from each research community, including CASCA; such proposal was indeed presented in a letter to the former Compute Canada Board in June 2012. The dialog is on-going.

 

Additional CASCA Board Activities.

There have been additional activities that have required significant attention from the CASCA Board.

Each year, CASCA submits a detailed report on IAU activities to NRC, who is financially responsible for the ~28,000 Euro membership fee for the 260 Canadians who are affiliated with the IAU. The 28-page report is used by NRC to assess whether the financial commitment is justified and sustainable. Personally, I was very impressed by the level of commitment and Canadian participation in IAU activities, that this year will include an IAU Symposium, “Exploring the Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems“, to be held in Victoria BC, on June 2-7 2013.

A less gratifying, but necessary activity is the major revision of CASCA’s by-laws that is required to comply with the new Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act. The Act affects all federally incorporated not-for-profit corporations, including CASCA. The new by-laws will need to be approved by the membership during the Executive Meeting at the 2013 Vancouver AGM.

Finally, the CASCA Board acknowledges that the increasingly more complex conditions under which research is being conducted require the definition of a code of conduct. To this effect, the Board is drafting an Statement of Ethics that will be submitted for approval by the membership during the 2013 Vancouver AGM.

 

To conclude this lengthy report, things are developing fast on all fronts, and will certainly have evolved, hopefully in a positive direction, by the time of the next President’s report, in June of this year. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, I hope to see many of you in Vancouver!

 

Laura Ferrarese,

President of CASCA,

Victoria, March 31, 2013

Assistant Professor Astrophysics at Mount Allison University (Deadline March 18, 2013 or until the position is filled)

We continue to accept applications for the following faculty position and welcome new applications.

The Physics Department at Mount Allison University invites applications for a one-year term position, with responsibilities for teaching and research in astronomy and astrophysics. Applicants should possess a Ph.D. in astronomy, physics, or a closely related area, and have a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching and research with undergraduate students. It is likely that the teaching assignment will be two courses per term (including associated laboratories), with three of the four courses being astronomy or astrophysics related. The university observatory offers opportunities for teaching, outreach, and research activities. The appointment will be made at the rank of Lecturer or Assistant Professor and will commence on July 1, 2013, subject to budgetary approval.

A complete application will include a letter of application, curriculum vitae, statement of teaching interests and philosophy, and statement of current and planned research activities. When available, submission of evidence of effective teaching is also encouraged. The complete application should be submitted to Academic Jobs Online academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/2567 . The letter of application should include names and email contact information for three (or more) references. Review of applications will begin on 18 March 2013, and continue until the position is filled.

For more information, please contact:
Dr. David Hornidge, P.Phys.
Head, Department of Physics
Mount Allison University
Sackville, New Brunswick E4L 1E6
Email: physics@mta.ca

Mount Allison University welcomes diversity in the workplace and encourages applications from all qualified women and men, including aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. Canadian and permanent residents should indicate their citizenship status in their application.

CASCA Executive Award for Outstanding Service Presented to Dr. John B. Hutchings (March 17, 2013)

 
The CASCA Executive Award for Outstanding Service recognizes sustained contributions that have strengthened the Canadian astronomical community and enhanced its impact regionally, nationally and/or internationally.

 
On behalf of the CASCA Board, it is my pleasure to announce that the 2013 recipient of CASCA’s Executive Award is Dr. John B. Hutchings, of the National Research Council of Canada.

 
A native of South Africa, Dr. Hutchings joined NRC in 1967, after graduating from Cambridge University. During his long and distinguished career, Dr. Hutchings has received numerous awards and honors, including the Beals Award from the Canadian Astronomical Society in 1982, the Gold Medal from the Science Council of British Columbia in 1983, and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. He was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1987. Although he formally retired from NRC in January 2012, this has had no effect on his commitment to strengthening the role of astronomy within Canada.

 
The author of over 450 papers in refereed journals, Dr. Hutchings is in the top 0.5% of most cited astrophysicists worldwide. He has worked on remarkably diverse topics including massive stars, stellar winds, X-ray binaries, novae, cataclysmic variables, the interstellar medium, active galaxies and quasars, radio galaxies, and high-redshift galaxy clusters. For this, he has used of a wide array of space- and ground-based facilities, from X-ray and ultraviolet satellites to radio interferometers.

 
Often working on astronomy’s forefront topics, from his early career Dr. Hutchings has been an indefatigable champion of space astronomy, leading Canadian participation in a series of key missions, including the International Ultraviolet Explorer, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer, Astrosat and the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope, and the James Webb Space Telescope. In particular, beginning in the early 1980s, Dr. Hutchings worked tirelessly to secure Canadian participation in FUSE, negotiating access policies that enabled Canadian scientists to gain greater access than would be expected given Canada’s share of the costs, and leading the design of FUSE’s Fine Error Sensor (FES) camera, a critical system responsible for the precise tracking of the telescope.

 
The FES represented Canada’s first foray into international space astronomy hardware, meeting tracking and pointing specifications far more stringent than required by any previous Canadian effort in space plasma physics or communications satellites. Moreover, the FES package helped to open the door to Canada’s participation in JWST, thus enabling Canadians to be part of one of the most technologically advanced, and scientifically exciting, astronomy projects ever undertaken. From the initial phases of JWST’s mission design, Dr. Hutchings worked closely with the CSA and NASA to support negotiations that ultimately resulted in Canada being responsible for the design and construction of two of JWST’s critical instruments: the Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS), and the Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS). Dr. Hutchings has been Canadian Project Scientist for JWST from 2001 to 2012, as well as Principal Investigator for the FGS.

 
Finally, Dr. Hutchings has been a steady voice and leader in many national and international committees. In Canada, he is a key contributor to CASCA/CSA’s Joint Committee for Space Astronomy, and a member of CASCA’s Ground Based Astronomy committee, of the Coalition for Astronomy TMT Planning Committee, and of CSA’s Euclid Science Advisory Committee. He is currently chair of CASCA’s Long Range Plan Implementation Committee, which is actively working to establish a framework for implementing and operating Canadian astronomical facilities in the coming decade.

 
For more than four decades, Dr. John Hutchings has charted a course of excellence for Canadian astronomy, setting the highest standards in scientific achievements, technical contributions, and service to the community. The Executive Award for Outstanding Service is CASCA’s attempt to recognize the selfless career of a renowned Canadian scientist: please join me in congratulating and thanking Dr. Hutchings for his outstanding contributions to our community.

 
Laura Ferrarese,
President of CASCA

CASCA/RASC/FAAQ Qilak Award Presented to Dr. James E. Hesser (March 3, 2013)

 
The Qilak award recognizes outstanding contributions to public understanding and appreciation of astronomy in Canada. CASCA is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2013 Qilak Award is Dr. James E. Hesser of the National Research Council.

 
Dr. Hesser has been a prominent figure in Canadian and international astronomy for many years. The director of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory since 1986, Dr. Hesser is a past president of both CASCA (2004-2006) and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (1987-1989), and a former vice-president of the American Astronomical Society (1991-1994). In 1997, Dr. Hesser was one of the first recipients of the prestigious Michael Smith Award, given through NSERC Canada to “honour people and groups that are inspirational in the way that they promote science to the general public”. He received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 in recognition of his services to the National Research Council and to all aspects of astronomy. In 2004, he received the CASCA Executive Award for exceptional service to CASCA, and he holds the title of Honorary President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC).

 
With a career-long commitment to astronomy education and public outreach, Dr. Hesser has led by example to forge an effective, efficient partnership between the main organizations of professional and amateur astronomy in Canada: CASCA, RASC, and the Fédération des astronomes amateurs du Québec (FAAQ). In collaboration with others, he worked diligently to establish respectful partnerships with Canada’s Aboriginal communities to preserve and celebrate indigenous knowledge of astronomy, and to illustrate pathways by which Aboriginal youth can aspire to and enter careers in science and technology. A longtime supporter of community outreach programmes, he often gives enthusiastic talks at astronomy conferences and other venues across Canada to encourage, motivate, and inspire his professional and amateur colleagues to participate in EPO activities.

 
Perhaps most significantly, Dr Hesser worked tirelessly to lead International Year of Astronomy (IYA) efforts within Canada. From 2005 to well beyond 2009, he led and guided this highly visible international project by serving as Canada’s “single point of contact” and as chair of the Executive Committee and Advisory Board for IYA within Canada. Under his direction, the IYA provided a “Galileo Moment” (i.e., “an engaging astronomy experience”) to more than two million people in Canada through more than 3600 separate events, from coast to coast to coast, and in both official languages. Always mindful of the need to cultivate lasting partnerships that sustain public interest in astronomy, Dr. Hesser has been a driving force behind “Beyond IYA” efforts within Canada.

 
CASCA thanks Dr. Hesser for his commitment to deepening the public’s understanding and appreciation of astronomy.

 
Laura Ferrarese, President, on behalf of the CASCA Board
Patrick Cote, Chair, on behalf of CASCA’s Awards Committee

CASCA’s Peter G. Martin Award Presented to Dr. Victoria Kaspi (March 3, 2013)

 
The Peter G. Martin Award is awarded to a Canadian astronomer, or astronomer working in Canada, within ten to twenty years of receipt of his or her PhD degree, to recognize significant contributions to astronomical research. CASCA is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2013 Peter G. Martin award is Prof. Victoria Kaspi of McGill University.

 
Dr. Kaspi received her Ph.D. in 1993 from Princeton University, under the supervisor of Nobel laureate Joseph Taylor. Following postdoctoral fellowships at Caltech and JPL, she was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1997 to 2002. In 1999, she moved to McGill University, where she is currently the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology. Her numerous awards and distinctions include the Annie Jump Cannon Prize (1998), Steacie Prize (2006), Rutherford Medal (2007) and John C. Polanyi Award (2011). She is a Fellow of both the Royal Society, and the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2011 was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

 
The author of more than 200 refereed publications, Prof. Kaspi’s research interests focus on neutron stars, radio pulsars and magnetars, with an emphasis on observational radio and X-ray astrophysics. Scientific highlights from Prof. Kaspi’s career include pioneering efforts in high-precision radio timing of millisecond pulsars, the use of binary pulsars in tests of General Relativity, the connection between pulsars and magnetars, and the study of highly magnetic radio pulsars in the field.

 
Please join us in congratulating Prof. Kaspi on the receipt of the 2013 Peter G. Martin Award.

 
Laura Ferrarese, President, on behalf of the CASCA Board
Patrick Cote, Chair, on behalf of CASCA’s Awards Committee

CASCA/RASC Plaskett Medal Presented to Dr. Yasuhiro Hasegawa (March 3, 2013)

 
The J.S. Plaskett Medal is awarded annually by CASCA and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) to the Ph.D. graduate from a Canadian university who is judged to have submitted the most outstanding doctoral thesis in astronomy or astrophysics during the preceding two calendar years. CASCA is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2013 J.S. Plaskett Medal is Dr. Yasuhiro Hasegawa.
 

Dr. Hasegawa completed his doctoral studies in 2012 at McMaster University. His thesis, entitled “Planet Traps in Protoplanetary Disk and the Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems”, was carried out under the supervision of Prof. Ralph Pudritz. This work explores in detail — from both a theoretical and computational perspective — the possibility that inhomogeneous structure in protostellar accretion disks can create ‘planet traps’ where major planets are built up primarily through the capture of rapidly migrating planetary cores, followed by the accretion of dense gas.
 

CASCA extends its congratulations to Dr. Hasegawa, who is currently an East Asian Core Observatories Association (EACOA) Fellow at the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA) in Taiwan.
 

Laura Ferrarese, President, on behalf of the CASCA Board
Patrick Cote, Chair, on behalf of CASCA’s Awards Committee

Ring Around Andromeda Challenges Galactic Ideas (January 3, 2013)

A surprising discovery about dwarf galaxies orbiting the much larger Andromeda galaxy suggests that conventional ideas regarding the formation of galaxies like our own Milky Way are missing something fundamental.

In a paper published today in the prestigious journal Nature, an international team of astronomers including two University of Victoria professors describes the discovery that almost half of the 30 dwarf galaxies orbiting Andromeda do so in an enormous plane more than a million light years in diameter, but only 30,000 light years thick.

The findings defied scientists’ expectation—based on two decades of computer modeling—that satellite galaxies would orbit in independent, seemingly random patterns. Instead, many of these dwarf galaxies seem to share a common orbit, an observation that currently has no explanation.

“It’s a very unusual, unexpected configuration,” says UVic astrophysicist Dr. Julio Navarro, a co-author of the paper. “It’s so unexpected that we don’t know yet what it’s telling us. The fact that it is there at all is pointing us toward something profound.”

The paper is based on data collected as part of a project led by UVic adjunct assistant professor Dr. Alan McConnachie, of the National Research Council of Canada’s Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (NRC-HIA) in Saanich. McConnachie, another co-author of the Nature paper, is principal investigator of the Pan Andromeda Archaeological Survey (PAndAS), which used the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope between 2008 and 2011. Examination of the data collected provided the first panoramic view of the Andromeda galaxy, the Milky Way’s nearest galactic companion, and the surprising discovery.

Understanding how and why the dwarf galaxies form the ring around Andromeda is expected to offer new information on the formation of all galaxies.

 
Media Contacts:
Dr. Alan McConnachie (National Research Council of Canada) at 250-363-0070 (alan.mcconnachie@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca)
Dr. Julio Navarro (Faculty of Science) at 250-721-6644 or jfn@uvic.ca
Mitch Wright (UVic Communications) at 250-721-6139 or mwwright@uvic.ca

Lecturer in Astronomy and Astrophysics – University of Toronto (Deadline Jan. 15, 2013)

Lecturer in Astronomy and Astrophysics – University of Toronto

The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics (DAA) and the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto invite applications for a teaching-stream position at the rank of Lecturer, beginning July 1, 2013.

The position is a joint appointment between the DAA (51%) and the rapidly growing Dunlap Institute (49%). The successful candidate will engage in teaching, pedagogical research, and related administrative work in DAA and have primary responsibility for the development and delivery of a broad range of astronomy-based education and outreach activities in the Dunlap Institute. Applicants must have demonstrated excellence in both teaching Astronomy and outreach programs. The successful candidate must have a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics or a related field and at least two years of post-doctoral research experience. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Appointments at the rank of Lecturer may be renewed annually to a maximum of five years. In the fifth year of service, Lecturers shall be reviewed and a recommendation made with respect to promotion to the rank of Senior Lecturer.

DAA and the Dunlap Institute have strong ties with and physical proximity to the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA), which is hosted by the University of Toronto. The University of Toronto (www.utoronto.ca) offers the opportunity to teach, engage in outreach, and live in one of the most diverse cities in the world.

The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

All qualified candidates are invited to apply by clicking on the link below. Applications should include a cover letter, a full curriculum vitae, a statement of career goal, teaching dossier that outlines the candidate’s teaching experience, teaching philosophy, and curriculum development experience, and a similar dossier on outreach activities. Please direct any additional enquiries about this position to chair@astro.utoronto.ca.

All application materials should be submitted online. The UofT application system can accommodate up to five attachments (10 MB) per candidate profile; please combine attachments in a single PDF file. Submission guidelines can be found at: http://uoft.me/how-to-apply.

Applicants should also ask at least three referees to send letters directly to the department via e-mail to astrochair@astro.utoronto.ca by the closing date, January 15, 2013.

For more information about the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, please visit http://www.astro.utoronto.ca or http://dunlap.utoronto.ca.

To Apply Online please click: https://utoronto.taleo.net/careersection/10050/jobdetail.ftl?lang=en&job=1201458

Alice Chow
Assistant to the Director and Office Administrator
Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of Toronto
50 St. George Street, Room 101
Toronto, ON M5S 3H4
Phone: 416.978.3356 Fax: 416.946.7287
Email: di.admin@di.utoronto.ca

http://dunlap.utoronto.ca

Tenure-stream position in Planetary Physics (Deadline Jan 31, 2013)

Tenure-stream position in Planetary Physics

The Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences (DPES) at the
University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) invites applications for a tenure-
stream appointment in the field of Planetary Physics. The position will be
at the rank of Assistant Professor and will commence July 1, 2013.

As part of an expansion in the field of the origin and evolution of solar
and extrasolar planets, the Physics and Astrophysics Group within the
Department is seeking specialists in the broad field of planetary materials.
Areas of interest encompass the physics of: materials at high-temperature
and/or pressure, where relevant to the interiors of solar and extrasolar
planetary bodies; and low-temperature solids (including ices, minerals and
macromolecules) in dispersed planetary media, from primordial solar nebulae
to planetary rings. Specific areas of interest include: the behaviour of
rocky, metallic and icy materials at the extreme conditions found inside
planetary bodies, the properties of gases and plasmas in the context of
planetary interiors, dust creation and destruction, the response to or
influence of planetary materials on physical fields or energy transfer, and
the characterization of the physical and optical properties of matter in
individual objects.

Applicants working in analytical and modeling focused research areas are
particularly encouraged. High performance computing will be supported
through access to distributed and shared memory computer clusters accessed
via SciNet (see www.scinet.utoronto.ca), and initiatives to construct a
GPU-based computer cluster at UTSC.

Applicants should have a completed PhD. Demonstrated excellence in research
and teaching are essential. He/she will be expected actively to seek
external research funding and set up a departmental research program at
UTSC. The successful applicant will teach courses in physics and/or
astrophysics at the undergraduate level, and physics, geophysics or
astrophysics at graduate level. He/she will hold a graduate appointment in
one or both of the University of Toronto’s tri-campus graduate Department of
Physics and Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and will be expected to
teach in its graduate programs and supervise graduate students. Salary will
be commensurate with qualifications and experience.
All qualified candidates are invited to apply by clicking on the link below.
Applications should include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, teaching
dossier, (including a statement of teaching philosophy), a statement
outlining current and future research interests, and three recent
publications. Please direct inquiries about these positions to Dr. J. Lowman
at lowman@utsc.utoronto.ca. All application materials should be submitted
online.

The UofT application system can accommodate up to five attachments (10 MB)
per candidate profile; please combine attachments into one or two files in
PDF/MS Word format. Submission guidelines can be found at:

http://uoft.me/how-to-apply.

Applicants should also ask three referees to send letters directly to Dr. J.
Lowman via e-mail to lowman@utsc.utoronto.ca by the closing date, January
31, 2013.

For more information about the University of Toronto Scarborough and its
undergraduate programs in Physics and Astrophysics please visit

http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~physsci/physAstro/.

The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its
community and especially welcomes applications from visible minority group
members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, members of
sexual minority groups, and others who may contribute to the further
diversification of ideas. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply;
however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Université de Montréal : Professeur (e) en astronomie extragalactique / Professor in extragalactic astronomy (Deadline Nov. 30 2012)

[English version follows]

———————————————————————–

PROFESSEURE OU PROFESSEUR EN ASTRONOMIE EXTRAGALACTIQUE
DÉPARTEMENT DE PHYSIQUE
UNIVERSITÉ DE MONTRÉAL

Le Département de physique sollicite des candidatures pour occuper un
poste à temps plein de professeure ou de professeur de physique, au rang
d’adjoint, avec une spécialisation en astronomie extragalactique.

Fonctions
———

Le candidat retenu sera appelé à enseigner aux trois cycles, à encadrer
des étudiants aux études supérieures, à poursuivre des activités de
recherche, de publication et de rayonnement ainsi qu’à contribuer aux
activités de l’institution.

Exigences
———

- Doctorat en physique, avec spécialisation en astronomie extragalactique
comportant une solide expertise au niveau observationnel.
- Aptitudes marquées pour l’enseignement.
- Publications témoignant d’une contribution exceptionnelle à la
recherche en astrophysique.
- Le candidat retenu devra poursuivre un vigoureux programme de
recherche en astrophysique et contribuer aux activités du Groupe
d’astronomie et d’astrophysique de l’Université de Montréal
(www.astro.umontreal.ca/groupe).
- Maîtrise de la langue française.*

Traitement
———-

L’Université de Montréal offre un salaire concurrentiel jumelé à une
gamme complète d’avantages sociaux.

Entrée en fonction
——————

À compter du 1er juin 2013.

Clôture du concours
——————-

Le dossier de candidature, constitué d’une lettre de motivation, d’un
curriculum vitæ, d’un exemplaire de publications ou de travaux de
recherche récents et d’un résumé des activités de recherche présentes et
envisagées, doit parvenir à au directeur du département, M. Yves Lépine,
à l’adresse électronique suivante (yves.lepine@umontreal.ca) au plus
tard le 30 novembre 2012.

Les candidats doivent également demander à trois personnes de faire
parvenir une lettre de recommandation au directeur du département à
l’adresse donnée ci-dessus.

Les personnes intéressées trouveront des renseignements sur le Département
de physique en consultant le site Web à l’adresse suivante :
www.phys.umontreal.ca.

————————————————————————-

* Politique linguistique de l’Université de Montréal :

L’Université de Montréal est une université québécoise de langue française,
à rayonnement international. Dans le cadre du renouvellement de son corps
professoral, elle intensifie le recrutement des meilleurs spécialistes
dans le monde et s’assure par ailleurs que, conformément à la Politique
linguistique de l’Université de Montréal
[http://secretariatgeneral.umontreal.ca/fileadmin/user_upload/secretariat/doc_officiels/reglements/administration/adm10-34_politique-linguistique.pdf],
les professeurs qu’elle recrute qui ne maîtrisent pas le français à leur
entrée en fonction bénéficient d’un programme de soutien à l’apprentissage
de la langue française.

Privilège de confidentialité des candidatures :

Les procédures de nomination en vigueur à l’Université de Montréal prévoient
que tous les dossiers de candidature puissent être consultés par tous les
professeurs membres de l’assemblée départementale. Toute personne désirant
que sa candidature demeure confidentielle jusqu’à l’établissement de la
liste restreinte (candidatures retenues pour entrevue) est priée de le
mentionner dans sa lettre de motivation.

Programme d’accès à l’égalité en emploi :

L’Université de Montréal souscrit au principe d’accès à l’égalité en emploi
et invite les femmes, les membres des minorités visibles, les membres des
minorités ethniques, les personnes handicapées et les autochtones à poser
leur candidature. Nous invitons tous les candidats à remplir le
Questionnaire d’identification – accès à l’égalité en emploi, disponible à
l’adresse suivante :

http://www.drh.umontreal.ca/documents/bpe/bpe_paee/formulaire_PAEE_bpe.pdf

et à le joindre à leur dossier de candidature.

Exigences en matière d’immigration :

Conformément aux exigences prescrites en matière d’immigration au Canada,
cette annonce s’adresse en priorité aux citoyens canadiens et aux résidents
permanents.

=========================================================================

PROFESSOR IN EXTRAGALACTIC ASTRONOMY
DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS
UNIVERSITY OF MONTREAL

The Department of Physics invites applications for a full-time tenure-track
position as Assistant Professor in Physics with a specialization in
extragalactic astronomy.

Responsibilities
—————-

Successful candidates will be expected to teach at all three levels of the
curriculum, supervise graduate students, engage in ongoing research and
publication, and contribute to the academic life and reputation of the
institution.

Requirements
————

- PhD in Physics, with a specialization in extragalactic astronomy with a
strong observational background.
- Commitment to excellence in teaching.
- A record of outstanding research achievements in Astrophysics.
- The candidate will be expected to join the Université de Montréal
Astronomy and Astrophysics Group and contribute to its activities
(www.astro.umontreal.ca/groupe).
- Proficiency in the French language. The Université de Montréal is a
Québec university with an international reputation. French is the
language of instruction. To revitalize its teaching faculty, the
University is intensively recruiting the world’s best specialists.
In accordance with the institution’s language policy
[http://secretariatgeneral.umontreal.ca/fileadmin/user_upload/secretariat/doc_officiels/reglements/administration/adm10-34_politique-linguistique.pdf],
the Université de Montréal provides support for newly-recruited faculty
to attain proficiency in French.

Salary
——

The Université de Montréal offers a competitive salary and a complete
range of employee benefits.

Starting Date
————-

Starting from June 1, 2013

Deadline
——–

The complete application, including a curriculum vitae, copies of recent
publications and research, a list of publications, and a summary of
current and planned research activities, must be received at the
following electronic address (yves.lepine@umontreal.ca) by
November 30, 2012.

Three letters of recommendation are to be sent directly to the
department director at the above address.

For more information about the Department of Physics, please consult
the Web site at: www.phys.umontreal.ca.

————————————————————————-

Confidentiality :

The Université de Montréal application process allows all regular
professors in the Department to have access to all documents unless
the applicant explicitly states in her or his cover letter that
access to the application should be limited to the selection committee.
This restriction on accessibility will be lifted if the applicant is
invited for an interview.

Employment Equity Program :

The Université de Montréal upholds the principles of employment equity
and welcomes applications from women, ethnic and visible minorities,
aboriginals and people with disabilities. All applicants are asked to
complete the employment equity identification questionnaire posted at

http://www.drh.umontreal.ca/documents/bpe/bpe_paee/formulaire_PAEE_bpe.pdf

and attach it to their application.

Immigration Requirements :

In compliance with Canadian immigration requirements, priority shall be
given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.