The AAS is pleased to announce the formation of the AAS Topical Conference Series (AASTCS, pronounced "aztecs").
The goal of the AASTCS is to organize between three and five topical conferences of significant interest to the astronomical community each year through a competitive proposal process. The AAS Topical Conference Series supports the mission of the AAS to enhance and share humanity’s understanding of the universe and will be an important part of the Society's activities in coming years.
The AAS therefore seeks proposals for cutting-edge topical meetings representing frontier research in astronomy and astrophysics, planetary science, heliophysics or related scientific areas. Details are provided below.
For Topical Conferences held in 2016, proposals are due by 1 December 2014 in the form of a PDF file sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Late proposals for summer 2014 will be considered on an individual basis. AASTCS will not be held in 2015 due to the AAS involvement in the General Assembly of the International Astrononomy Union.
Selections for 2016 will be made by the AAS vice-presidents by 1 July 2015 and logistical planning will begin shortly thereafter. We anticipate a similar schedule for future years.
Proposals from all areas of the astronomical sciences are welcome. The AAS vice-presidents will identify the most scientifically interesting and currently relevant meetings proposed and select three as AAS Topical Conferences for 2016.
The AAS Executive Office will organize all logistical and financial aspects of the meeting. Meeting organizers have great flexibility in designing the scientific program, but must follow the general meeting policies of the Society, including that the distribution of invited speakers represent the broad demographics of the Society membership.
- The first AAS Topical Conference Series meetings will be held at a conference center or hotel facility in either a mountain or beach/water environment during July and August 2016, with the exact dates to be negotiated with the selected conference proposers. Future years will feature other locations.
There is significant advantage to conference proposers through the expert AAS meeting organization team. Proposers do not need to concern themselves with contracts, logistical details or meeting location selection. The AAS handles all of these details in addition to meeting registration, web promotion and all other organizational details. Proposers need only arrange for the scientific content of their conference. The AAS carries the full financial risk for the meetings and therefore decides on the registration fees and other costs based on proposer’s requirements. If the proposer can help identify external funding, either through grants or sponsorship, registration fees can be proportionately reduced.
The AASTCS differs from the “Meeting-in-a-Meeting” format provided at AAS summer meetings in several ways. First, the meeting will be held alone, providing a highly concentrated experience for attendees as opposed to a topical session contained within a regular AAS meeting. Additionally, the length of the meeting is longer (AASTCS meetings are expected to be 4 or 5 days in length), again, providing ample time for enhanced interaction and discussion. Also, the format is completely open (within physical constraints of the meeting venue), allowing creative use of the time to enhance the scientific impact of the meeting. Finally, since the AAS is only selecting a limited number of meetings in a competitive process, there will be a certain level of prestige associated with the selected meetings.
AASTCS will follow a five-day schedule, with an opportunity for afternoons of free time for discussion or local recreation at the discretion of the organizers. Evening sessions may also be arranged. The AAS is constrained contractually to provide a more-or-less uniform filling of hotel rooms during the period for the AASTCS meetings, but there is some flexibility for start and end dates.
It is the intention of the AAS to hold these conferences in series over a three-week period. However, depending on the meeting location, estimated size of the proposed conferences and other logistical constraints, the conferences may be held in parallel or in a blended way, with two or more meetings overlapping in time.
We expect the conference location to be more remote than typical AAS meeting locations, hindering easy access to meals outside of the meeting venue. Meeting participants will receive breakfast, lunch and dinner included with the meeting registration fee. Due to the planned venues of these conferences, this is the most effective way to maximize interaction time among participants and cost-effectively provide meals to the meeting participants. Special dietary needs can be accommodated without additional cost.
Wireless Internet will be provided for the conferences at no additional charge to participants either using the infrastructure provided by the meeting facility or using AAS provided infrastructure.
Generally, the meeting format will be one large session room with the possibility of smaller breakout rooms for more focused discussion. Posters can be accommodated at the discretion of the meeting proposers.
The AAS will produce and maintain a meeting website with detailed information on the scientific content of the meeting provided by the meeting proposers along with logistical information, full registration services, abstract submission and other appropriate content.
Key Elements of an AAS Topical Conference Series Proposal
A clearly identified scientific organizing committee with full contact information for all members and identifying a single contact on the SOC who will serve as the primary contact to the AAS Executive Office for planning purposes.
Justification for the topical conference series sufficient to: a) explain in detail the topical focus of the meeting; b) establish the conference topic as frontier or cutting-edge science of great importance to one (or more) of the disciplines represented within the AAS; c) explain, in detail, the proposed meeting flow and structure along with any additional requirements (such as posters or evening sessions); d) list, if possible, either the planned invited speakers or the procedure that will be used to identify the invited speakers for the meeting; it will strengthen a proposal if the speakers are identified and if at least some of them have agreed to speak if the meeting is approved.
A plan, with a timeline, for organizing the scientific content of the meeting. Note that AAS provides flexible abstract services, and will handle all logistical and financial issues.
Comments from Past Topical Conference Organizers
"...this meeting [Extreme Solar Systems II] was an enormous success. I've heard many, many participants say it was the best meeting they've ever attended.
So, thank you all for a marvelous week for exoplanet science." - Geoffrey Marcy, ExSS II Organizer
"I wanted to thank you all again for the splendid job you did organizing the meeting for us.
The conference was a huge success and this couldn't have happened without your dedication to every detail. I do not recall ever attending a meeting of this size where absolutely everything went so smoothly and perfectly.
I very much hope we can do it again together for ExSS III..." - Fred Rasio, ExSS II Organizer
"Our truly special thanks go to the AAS staff for the enormous (though often invisible) contribution to organising and running our two conferences [IAU Symposium 261 and DDA 2009]. They were both successful, scientifically and financially. Thank you!" - Michael Efroimsky, DDA Past Chair
Questions or to Submit Your Proposal
Send email to email@example.com