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Decadal Update 3 - Chair's Update / White Paper Submission

The following is the third in a new series of special Decadal Update emails, sent to the AAS membership as a service to the National Academy of Sciences Astro2010 Decadal Survey Committee.

Below is the text of the third "Chair's Update" message from Roger Blandford, discussing the online submission system for the Science White Papers, as well as information on other solicitations for input.

Marcos Huerta
John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow
huerta at


The Astro2010 Web Site:


February 3, 2009

SUBJECT: Change to Science White Paper Submission Procedure; Information on Future Calls for Input


As you know, we have invited interested parties from the broad community to submit white papers focusing on how our understanding of the scientific frontiers in astronomy and astrophysics may be advanced in the future. I know from conversations with many colleagues and from reports from many quarters that significant numbers of you are
preparing white papers to be submitted to one or more of the five thematic Science Frontiers Panels (SFPs). You will recall that we asked that papers should specifically and succinctly address the panels' charges to identify new science opportunities and compelling science themes, to place those in the broader scientific context, and to describe the key advances in observation, experiment and theory necessary to realize those scientific opportunities within the decade 2010-2020.

As I mentioned in my last bulletin, this is not a scientific popularity contest. A single, well-argued white paper with several supporting authors with different backgrounds will be of greater use to the SFPs than many superficial submissions. So, please do try to collaborate with your colleagues on this process. Despite this, we anticipate a large volume of input from the community. The impressive response to our call for notices of interest has caused us to re- engineer the white papers' submission process – with the goal of (1) improving our tracking of an expected large volume of inputs and (2) ensuring that we will be able to web-publish in a timely manner the papers for the perusal and use of the community. Please note, therefore, that instead of the original plan to accept papers by email, we have now designed a web-based submission process that is accessible through the astro2010 web page. [Note this process will include assigning copyright permission to the National Academies for all the content of the paper.]

To facilitate document management we have devised the following submission guidelines:

*White papers may not be more than 7 pages in length, including all figures, tables, references and appendices. Papers can include web links to other documents among the references.

* A recommended cover page may be included (beyond the 7-page limit) that should include the title of the white paper, the primary author's name, phone number, institution, and email address, and a list of co-authors with their respective institutions.

* Use a 12-pt font with 1-inch margins on all sides of the document.

* Papers in Microsoft Word (.doc), Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), and Adobe PostScript (.ps) formats will be accepted. No other formats will be accepted.

* White papers must be less than 50 MB in size. For file management purposes, please compress your figures if doing so does not detract from the clarity of your white paper. You can providehyperlinks to higher resolution versions if you wish.

* White papers can be submitted by navigating your browser to and choosing a link that will appear there shortly, "Submit Your Science White Paper". We will only accept white papers submitted by means of this web-based system. Submissions must be made between 12:01 a.m. EST, Monday, February 9 and 11:59 p.m., Sunday, February 15, 2009. Questions on the process can be submitted to astro2010 at Any white papers submitted to this email address will be returned and you will be directed to the Astro2010 website.

Looking forward, we plan to announce the call for "State of the Profession" Position Papers and the call for Technology Development White Papers within a day or so. Within a couple of weeks the Subcommittee on Program will issue a Request for Information on Activities which will be due by April 1. A similar submission process will be in place for those inputs. Please check on the web page ( for further information and updates.

Plans are going ahead for several Community Town Hall meetings. We have just posted on the web page some questions that attendees at these meetings may wish to consider. The dates and locations of the meetings we know of are also posted on the web. Organizers of future Community Town Hall meetings should email the survey's staff at astro2010 at so that your meeting can be listed on the web and the survey committee can coordinate on attendance.

On behalf of the survey committee and its panels and study groups, whose membership will also be announced shortly, I want to thank you in advance for your inputs to date. I look forward to reading your views on the scientific frontiers of astronomy that we, as a community, plan to explore.


Roger Blandford
Committee on Astro2010, Chair