Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day 2 of the CANDELS Team Meeting: Working Groups and the Social Side of Meetings

Yesterday's agenda at the team meeting was packed with a lot of interesting science! It was the first of two days of plenary sessions, meaning that for these two days everyone will be here and meet in one room. For the other days, we are meeting in smaller groups to discuss specific topics in detail. The bulk of today's agenda included summary talks from each of the working group leaders discussing what the different groups have accomplished so far and what their goals are for the future. As mentioned in our last post, CANDELS has several working groups on different science topics that work together to produce necessary data sets and write papers. For example, I lead the morphology working group and so gave a talk about the papers we have published so far and the data products we produced. It was quite useful to hear what all of the individual groups have been up to and what each is planning for the next year. CANDELS has published a lot of papers so far, but there is so much more we would like to do. The plans are ambitious, and there is a delicate balance between the important tasks we must each undertake (such as producing catalogs for the team to use) and writing papers.

We also had a very fruitful discussion at the end of the day about how various aspects of the team organization works, for example, how each of the groups communicates about their results to the rest of the team. We got to hear what works and what doesn't, and brainstorm ideas for ways to improve how the team interacts with each other.

After all of the talks were over, the team gathered together at a nice restaurant by the water in Santa Cruz for our team dinner. It is typical at a meeting like this to plan a group dinner on one of the evenings so that everyone has a chance to socialize and get to know each other a little better while talking about the meeting in an informal setting. This is often a lot of fun! The evening was made even more interesting by some announcements from Sandy Faber and Harry Ferguson, the principal investigators of the project.

The new CANDELS logo, designed by
Dale Kocevski and Nina McCurdy
Since the formation of the team back in 2009, various ideas have been tossed around for a team logo. Having a logo for a collaboration such as this is great because it gives the team a visual representation of what they do and can be used in various places. For example, logos are often used in presentations or included on posters. In order to come up with a good one, and have a little bit of fun in the process, Harry and Sandy suggested having a logo contest. So, everyone was free to submit their ideas for logos and encouraged to be creative. Many ideas were submitted and we all voted. Tonight, the winning logo was announced. The designers of our new logo are Dale Kocevski and Nina McCurdy. The logo itself is shown to the right. It depicts the Hubble Space Telescope overlayed on an HST image with the CANDELS team name written around in a circle. We are all quite excited to have a new logo to start using! What do you think?

Dale Kocevski, smiling at the team dinner after
receiving his awards
In addition to the announcement of the logo contest winners, Sandy and Harry gave out several unexpected awards to various team members. Dale Kocevski received an award for the most popular CANDELS paper on Vox Charta (a website used by astronomy departments for discussing new papers as they come out). Congratulations Dale! Two different awards were given for important contributions that have benefited the entire team: Audrey Galametz for the huge effort that has gone toward creating multiwavelength catalogs, and Tomas Dahlen and Bahram Mobasher for their work on comparing photometric redshifts produced by many different groups. Karen Pena was awarded for her incredible efforts in organizing this great meeting and Adriano Fontana for the greatest contribution to CANDELS team resources. And finally, this very blog received an award for its contribution to Education and Public Outreach.

In many ways, our meeting has just begun! Today we will have a discussion about our big picture science goals for the future and the papers that only a project like CANDELS can write.

Astronomers deep in scientific discussion over lunch
Photos taken by Janine Pforr

No comments:

Post a Comment