ANITA2017 and Astroinformatics school: registrations now open

The 11th Australian National Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (ANITA) annual theory workshop and astroinformatics school will be held on:

6th-10th February 2017, University of Tasmania, Hobart

The ANITA workshop will run Thu-Fri 9th-10th Feb, covering all aspects of theoretical and computational astrophysics

The Astroinformatics summer school will be held Mon-Wed 6th-8th Feb, covering:

• A whole day of Python! Including introduction, numpy, scipy, plotting and interactive python notebooks
• Introduction to sql databases and mysql
• Usage of git, github and source control
• Introduction to cloud computing, deep learning, high performance computing using MPI and GPUs
• Visualisation techniques

Registration is free*

*a $250 registration fee is requested from non-students wishing to attend the school to help cover costs

2016-2018 ANITA Steering Committee

The new ANITA Steering Committee is:

Chair (2016-2018):

Daniel Price, Monash

General committee (2015-2017):

Paul Lasky (Monash)
Jean-Pierre Macquart (Curtin/ICRAR)
Amanda Karakas (Monash)


Krzysztof Bolejko (Sydney)
Christoph Federrath (ANU)
Aaron Robotham (UWA/ICRAR)

Student representative (2016-2017):

Luz Angela Garcia (Swinburne)

Immediate Past Chair:

Cathryn Trott (Curtin/ICRAR).

I would like to thank our outgoing committee members for all of their hard work: Darren Croton, Alexander Heger, Camila Correa.

ANITA Summer School and Workshop – On Now!

The 2016 ANITA Summer School and Workshop are being held this week in Melbourne, hosted by Monash University.

The School, “Dancing with the Stars” brings some of the highest quality Australian and international star formation researchers to instruct students.

The ANITA Workshop will be held Thursday February 11 – Friday February 12. This year’s Workshop promises to be extra exciting for the Theory community, with the LIGO press release overnight on Thursday. Monash University’s resident gravity wave experts, including Dr Paul Lasky, will provide a special update on the announcement for those in attendance on Friday.

2016 ANITA Workshop and Summer School

Dear Anita members,

We are delighted to announce the Australian National Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics summer school and annual workshop for 2016, to be held at Monash University, Clayton Campus in sunny Melbourne, Victoria.

Summer school:
“Dancing with the stars: The life and death of stars”
Mon-Wed 8th-10th February 2016

ANITA annual conference/workshop:
Thurs-Fri 11th-12th February 2016

Registration will open in October 2015. The summer school will be free for students and there will be no registration fee for the ANITA workshop. The conference dinner will be held on Thurs 11th Feb.

See for updates or contact the local organisers for further details.

Save the date!

Your local organisers,
Paul Lasky, Daniel Price & Alex Heger

ANITA Town Hall Meeting: Thursday July 9, 1pm, ASA Meeting

ANITA will be holding a Town Hall update meeting at the ASA Annual Scientific Meeting in Fremantle next month. We hope you can attend to hear about ANITA’s activities and provide suggestions to the Steering Committee. We will also be announcing the location of the 2016 ANITA Workshop and School, and launching the ANITA Colloquium Database.

Location: Sirius Room, Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle WA

Date: Thursday July 9

Time: 1pm (part of lunch break)

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).

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.
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.
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.

ANITA Steering Committee Elections – 2015

Do you want to be part of shaping the landscape for theory in Australian astronomy? Do you have great ideas for connecting theorists and observers? Come and join ANITA’s Steering Committee!
ANITA will be holding its annual election to the ANITA Steering Committee in the week of March 23. The committee positions up for election are:

– 3 Ordinary Committee members (2 year term)
– 1 Student Representative (1 year term)

These positions are currently held by Sarah Maddison, Orsola De Marco, Chris Power and Camila Correa (student) and we thank them for their service to the Chapter. Note that these committee members, and any previous committee members can nominate in this election.

Please nominate yourself for a position on the committee! In the past year, ANITA has:

– contributed to the Decadal Planning process with an ANITA submission and follow-up responses
– hosted and provided online Google Hangout Lectures for the whole community
– organised the 2015 ANITA Workshop and Astroinformatics School, hosted by the ANU.

In 2015-2016, we have some more exciting developments. Please join us!

As Returning Officer, please send to me via email ( your name and a brief description of your interests in joining the ANITA Steering Committee, to be included in the election materials. To be eligible, you need to be an ASA Member, Fellow or Student Member.

Election timeline:
Monday March 9 – Friday March 20 Nomination period
Monday March 23 – Friday March 27 Election period
Week of March 30 Results announced.