New Science Conference 2011 > NWNH Conference Philosophy

NWNH Conference Philosophy

by Purav Patel last modified Apr 16, 2011 by Pat Murphy

Conference Philosophy

Decadal Science Program:
Discovery Areas and Science Frontier Questions

The Scientific Organizing Committee (SOC) is developing the program for this conference to reflect the science themes and questions developed by the Astro2010 Decadal Survey panels and committee.

The SOC will ask speakers to specifically address topics that are directly related to the Astro2010 discovery areas and science frontier questions. These are described in Chapter 2 of the Astro2010 Committee Report, "New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics," and are summarized below. Speakers should describe how their programs are related to existing radio, millimeter or sub-millimeter (RMS) facilities or new initiatives recommended in "New Worlds, New Horizons". We also welcome descriptions of how instruments at other wavelengths will complement RMS facilities.

You are free to propose to give a talk topic from this list or give a contributed talk or poster on a topic of your choice (as space permits). This format is loosely modeled after the successful "Protostars and Protoplanets" meeting format -- the SOC will invite a small number of speakers, and then select the rest from those who submit abstracts with topics drawn from the list below or who propose their own related topic.

Discovery areas:

  • Identification and characterization of nearby habitable exoplanets
  • Gravitational wave astronomy
  • Time-domain astronomy
  • Astrometry
  • The epoch of reionization


  • How did the universe begin?
  • What were the first objects to light up the universe and when did they do it?
  • How do cosmic structures form and evolve?
  • What are the connections between dark and luminous matter?
  • What is the fossil record of galaxy assembly and evolution from the first stars to the present.
  • How do stars and black holes form?
  • How do circumstellar disks evolve and form planetary systems?

Understanding the Cosmic Order:

  • How do baryons cycle in and out of galaxies and what do they do while they are there?
  • What are the flows of matter and energy in the circumgalactic medium?
  • What controls the mass-energy-chemical cycles within galaxies?
  • How do black holes work and influence their surroundings?
  • How do rotation and magnetic fields affect stars?
  • How do massive stars end their lives?
  • What are the progenitors of Type Ia supernovae and how do they explode?
  • How diverse are planetary systems and can we identify the telltale signs of life on an exoplanet?

Frontiers of Knowledge:

  • Why is the universe accelerating?
  • What is dark matter?
  • What are the properties of the neutrinos?
  • What controls the masses, spins, and radii of compact stellar remnants?