ANITA Steering Committee – 2015

Dear ANITA members,

I am happy to announce that we have received the exact number of nominations required to fill the Steering Committee places, without need for an election. Camila Correa has re-nominated, unopposed, as the student member. Orsola De Marco, Sarah Maddison, and Chris Power have completed their terms, and we thank them for their great contributions.
The new members of the Committee are:
Jean-Pierre Macquart (ICRAR-Curtin)
Amanda Karakas (RSAA, ANU)
Paul Lasky (Monash)
I have included their nomination details below.
The 2015 Steering Committee is:
Cathryn Trott (Chair)
Darren Croton (Past-Chair)
Alexander Heger
Daniel Price
Krzysztof Bolejko
Jean-Pierre Macquart (ICRAR-Curtin)
Amanda Karakas (RSAA, ANU)
Paul Lasky (Monash)
Camila Correa (student).

Regards,
Cathryn
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Jean-Pierre Macquart (ICRAR-Curtin)

With a history in both pen-and-paper theory and observational astrophysics, I am keen to promote activities for cross-fertilization. This includes the promotion of opportunities (e.g. fellowships and visiting funds) to enable theorists to spend time embedded with specific observational groups.

I am keen to advance theoretical astrophysics as an integral component of the fabric of Australian astronomy and to see that it is better recognised as a driving force for much of its activities.
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Amanda Karakas (RSAA, ANU)

I am interested in joining the ANITA Organising Committee because I would like to work to enhance the position of theoretical astronomy within the Australian community and at Mt Stromlo Observatory in particular. I also strongly believe in encouraging and supporting students at all levels to do theoretical projects during their studies. I also think that ANITA is a great platform to engage students and researchers of all disciplines in the issues faced by the theoretical community, through ANITA workshops and the ANITA presence at the annual scientific meeting.
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Paul Lasky (Monash University)

The theoretical astrophysics community in Australia is a vibrant and enthusiastic one that contains a broad range of intersecting interests. Unfortunately, this diversity is sometimes perceived as a lack of cohesion by the rest of Australian astronomy, with the tendency to ignore the crucial role theory plays within the country. For example, although 39% of total researcher effort in Australia is identified in the decadal plan exposure draft with theoretical and computational astrophysics, that same decadal plan makes no concrete recommendations about the required resources for the theoretical sector, in contrast to very specific requirements outlined for optical and radio facilities.

The current ANITA committee should be applauded for making excellent community suggestions regarding national fellowship schemes with the hope of supporting theoretical astrophysicists. I fear that these suggestions fall on deaf ears given the perception of theoretical astrophysics in Australia being disjoint and unimportant. The ANITA online lectures are a great initiative; I would like to work towards utilising these as a platform for integrating theoretical astrophysics into the broader community by increasing substantially their scope and interests. I would also like to work towards exposing junior members of the ASA to the diversity of astronomy in Australia by creating an online profile for ANITA through social media, and by increasing ANITA’s involvement in community events such as the Harley Wood Winter School. I believe I can provide excellent input to the general running of ANITA by calling on my broad range of experiences and skills acquired through seven postdoc years both nationally and internationally.