2.3.3 The context for planning: This section summarizes the various trends that set the context for our planning, in astronomy as a whole and at UCSC. Our three areas of science excellence remain cosmology and galaxy formation, high-energy astrophysics, and star/planet/solar-system formation. We foresee that all three areas will remain strong for the next decade and beyond, with star/planet/solar-system research growing the fastest due to spectacular instrumentation advances and faster high-performance computing. This is purposefully the area where our two newest faculty members (Fortney and Krumholz) were chosen.
Five major new observatories are scheduled to open in the next ten years, and four of them are in long-wavelength astronomy. The earliest is the Gamma-Ray Large Area Telescope(GLAST), a gamma-ray satellite observatory due to be launched in January 2008 by NASA. GLAST was conceived in the UCSC Physics department and is understood here technically better than anywhere else. A goal of the next review period is to partner with Physics to help them skim the scientific cream from GLAST. The GLAST gamma-ray partnership is the first of our strategies to extend the Astronomy program into non-optical wavelength regimes. The Herschel infrared satellite will be the largest space telescope of its kind when launched, in 2008. Herschel's 3.5-metre diameter mirror will collect long-wavelength infrared radiation from some of the coolest and objects in the Universe, such as forming stars and distant galaxies. Herschel will be the only space observatory to cover the spectral range from far-infrared to submillimeter wavelengths.
The third telescope is NSF’s Atacama Large Millimeter Array(ALMA), a large ground-based submillimeter/radio interferometer in Chile that will open fantastic new sensitivity and resolution windows on star formation in our own and distant galaxies, starting in 2012. ALMA is NSF’s most awaited telescope of the last thirty years. We need to engage with it, yet our present faculty lack the specialized interferometry training and expertise in molecular astrophysics to do so.
The Extended Very Large Array radio interferometer is due to come on line in 2012. It will have unprecedented sensitivity to study neutral hydrogen gas in distant galaxies and map star-forming regions in our own and distant galaxies. These capabilities are extremely important for our star, planet, and galaxy formation programs, but, as with ALMA, specialized interferometry training is needed.
The James Webb Space Telescope(JWST) is an infrared follow-on to the Hubble Space Telescope that is due to launch in 2015. Our faculty are well positioned to use the near-infrared instruments on JWST but are not as familiar with the science at longer wavelengths (5-27 ), where sensitivity gains of a factor of 100 will permit detailed studies of dust and ice grains formed during planet formation and in high-redshift galaxies.
The Department also has footholds in several smaller missions, including the Kepler and COROT satellites for detecting extra-solar planet transits; Sofia, an aircraft-based infra-red telescope relevant to star formation; and the NUSTAR high-energy X-ray satellite. Thorsett has especially close ties with NUSTAR; it is not presently on NASA’s manifest but may be revived.
Several other facilities are looming whose construction is not yet certain. Pivotal is the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT), a billion-dollar, next-generation ground-based optical/infrared telescope conceived at UCSC under the technical leadership of Jerry Nelson. The TMT incorporates adaptive optics from the start and, if successful, will achieve a resolution that is ten times sharper than Hubble. The resulting impact onall of our star, planet, and galaxy programs will be huge. The TMT partnership currently includes UC, Caltech, and Canada, with additional partners being sought. The telescope design is largely complete, and the project is looking for construction money. It is hoped that much of TMT’s instrumentation will be built here at UCSC, with huge consequences for the workloads of UCO faculty.
Other potential telescopes include the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), for which Physics is building the camera control system, and a not-yet-designated “Beyond Einstein” satellite from NASA, which, depending on choice, might benefit cosmology and/or high-energy astrophysics. Selection of the LISA gravity-wave satellite for this slot could prompt us to consider hiring in GR and gravity-wave physics.
To summarize,with the prominent exception of long-wavelength observatories, the present Astronomy faculty are well positioned to exploit major new astronomical instrumentation expected in the next decade.
The chief long-term federal funding trend is an expected decline in NASA deep-space missions if the Moon-Mars program remains in place. Grant funding for cosmology and high-energy astrophysics at NASA will fall, and these areas will turn to NSF, which is already highly oversubscribed. If DOE broadens its particle-astrophysics program to fund more traditional astronomy (as recommended in EPP 2010), we could exploit this by partnering with Physics, which has close DOE connections. To be safe, we assume that federal funds will remain very tight, and we therefore plan on a much-expanded development and outreach program, as described below.
Two technology breakthroughs also impact our plans. One is adaptive optics, which is rapidly maturing in the near-infrared and is even migrating to optical wavelengths (thanks to current work by LAO at Lick). The demise of Hubble near 2014 will catapult AO into the spotlight as the favored tool for super-sharp astronomical imaging. Right now, we are leaders in the “Next Generation Adaptive Optics” program at Keck, which will provide precision AO performance at infrared wavelengths and much improved performance at optical wavelengths. On longer timescales, our AO expertise will be a gateway into TMT, which depends on AO for its most spectacular gains. In retrospect, the campus investment in CfAO has positioned us well to be leaders in this new era.
The second development is the coming-of-age of supercomputers and their ability (finally) to reliably simulate complex systems, such as turbulent fluids with radiative transfer. This capacity is breaking open many classically intractable problems, with the result that supercomputers are becoming as important to theorists as telescopes are to observers. UCSC is well positioned to ride this trend by virtue of our many computational astrophysics faculty and the new Pleiades mini-supercomputer. However, supercomputers (and the facilities that house them) are short-lived and expensive, and current funding paths do not have upgrade routes built in. Finding the resources to house, run, and upgrade on-campus supercomputers is the major capital challenge facing the Department in the next planning period. UCSC expansion plans and priorities set the final context for planning. The campus’ main goal is toenter the ranks of first-rate research universities.As one of the better departments on campus, Astronomy is obligated to lead, and our multiple partnerships with Physics, EPS, and AMS service this goal. UCSC is also seeking to grow, from its present 15,000 students to 19,500 students by 2020 (this is presently opposed by local governments). If growth is uniform, it would amount to 17% during the next review period, which ought to bring us new FTE. A third UCSC priority is to increase the size and quality of graduate programs,which we are working hard to support. Finally, the University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) with NASA Ames and the Silicon Valley Center in Mountain View are UCSC extensions to promote research and teaching in the Silicon Valley. Participating in these organizations is a fourth major goal.
2.3.4 Partner organizations:Besides our close partnerships with UCO and CfAO, our other chief partnerships are with three sister UCSC departments:
Physics (http://physics.ucsc.edu): Collaborations between physicist Joel Primack and Astronomy faculty go back to 1982. In 2000, Physics received four FTE designated specifically for astrophysics. Three of these have been filled, with a high-energy observer (Smith), a GR and early-universe theorist (Aguirre), and a particle-astrophysicist (Profumo). Physics also contains three particle theorists (Banks, Dine, and Haber), plus an Organized Research Unit, the Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics (SCIPP, http://scipp.ucsc.edu), which builds particle detectors at leading accelerators. SCIPP also conceived the GLAST gamma-ray satellite and built its detectors and is now working on LSST. Joint collaborations between Astronomy and Physics include GLAST research (Johnson, Primack, Ramirez-Ruiz, Thorsett, and Woosley), intergalactic metals in the early Universe (Prochaska and Aguirre), dark-matter annihilation (Madau, Primack, and Profumo), and galaxy formation (Primack and DEEP2). The two departments share graduate students and jointly offer the undergraduate Physics/Astrophysics major (ASPH).The budding partnership with Physics on GLAST is Astronomy’s first major foray into non-optical/non-infrared observational astronomy.
Earth and Planetary Sciences(http://www.es.ucsc.edu): The name of this department was recently changed to include the word “Planetary,” reflecting a broadened interest in planets and solar-system formation. Three faculty specialize in rocky/icy planets, comets, and asteroids (Glatzmaier, Asphaug, and Nimmo), which complements Astronomy’s traditional strength in giant gaseous planets. Jointly, the two departments sponsor the Center for the Origin and Development of Planets (CODEP, http://codep.ucsc.edu), a local center within the Santa Cruz branch of UC’s systemwide Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics (see below). When complete, CODEP will have twenty-three affiliated faculty, including seven from Astronomy. CODEP sponsors a weekly research seminar and hosts workshops on planetary science. However, it is hampered by lack of funds and staff, and fund-raising to elevate CODEP’s activities should be a joint priority for Astronomy and EPS.
Applied Math and Statistics (http://www.ams.ucsc.edu):This young department was founded in 2001 with active assistance from astronomers. There are many potential opportunities for collaboration, of which only astrophysical fluid dynamics is as yet really active. Two AMS faculty work in this area, with interests in solar-system formation (Garaud) and turbulence and solar magneto-hydrodynamics (Brummell); both are CODEP members. As a group. the Applied Math faculty specialize in the theory and applications of nonlinear differential equations, which have many potential applications to astronomy, such as orbital dynamics and instrument control theory. The department is also very strong in Bayesian statistics and data analysis. The department intends to double in size from its present level of 9 FTE, offering further opportunities for collaborations.
The Engineering School(http://www.soe.ucsc.edu): CfAO has joint projects with the UCSC School of Engineering. Engineering professor Kubby is developing a new generation of deformable AO mirrors based on MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems). A new hire in control theory will provide key expertise for controlling such mirrors and will add to an existing collaboration in this field (with Wiberg).
Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics(http://igpp.ucsc.edu): The IGPP is a multi-campus research unit of the University of California. The UCSC branch consists of four research centers, one of which is CODEP. Six Astronomy faculty are presently CODEP members, along with ten from EPS.
Off-campus, we have collaborations such as the DEEP2 and AEGIS galaxy surveys with UC Berkeley, the California-Carnegie Planet Search with UC Berkeley and Carnegie, and the SciDAC Computational Astrophysics Consortium in partnership with nine other Bay Area institutions including UCB, Stanford, LLNL, and LBL. The Center for Adaptive Optics collaborates with ten universities and nine national laboratories, observatories, and institutes. CfAO and LAO are major participants in the Gemini Planet Imager, a new adaptive optics instrument for the Gemini Observatory. Although we have several smaller research collaborations with NASA Ames scientists, including heavy use of their Columbia supercomputer, we have not yet managed to engage fully with the University Affiliated Research Center (UARC). A joint computational astrophysics center may provide an opening, and discussions are under way.
2.3.5 Extramural grant funding; overhead income: Extramural grants since 2001-2 are listed individually in Appendix Ib.1, and totals versus time are summarized in Appendix Ib.2. Annual totals hover around $10 M per year but fluctuate owing to the coming and going of a few multi-million-dollar grants, most of which are instrumentation or facilities grants to UCO. Column 5 in Appendix Ib.2 attempts to correct for this by subtracting off grants for CfAO, the Moore Laboratory for Adaptive Optics, and the APF telescope. If these are excluded, an average rise of 50% occurred in “PI-only” research grants from 2001 to 2006. Corrected for inflation, this reflects a rise in science-grant productivity per faculty member of 20% during this period. Reasons for this are the success of a few large projects toward the end of the period, recent large computer purchases by Department faculty, and a cluster of faculty entering their peak productive years. However, given the faculty age distribution now and in future (see Figure 1 below) plus expected tighter grant competition at NASA and NSF, it is unlikely that productivity gains will continue at the same pace in future. More likely, the PI-grant-winning capacities of our facultyare close to saturation, and the only way to raise more funds will be to add more faculty or apply for larger projects. The two are linked, as more faculty would generate the extra power needed for planning and promoting large projects.
In contrast to total grants, overhead return remained substantially constant over the period, hovering near $1.4 M in total, and $1.0 M when CfAO overhead is subtracted. CfAO has been the largest single source of overhead, but this will end when NSF funds sunset in November 2009. CfAO highlights the importance of majorfederalcenters for generating steady, reliable overhead, as private donations, though often large in dollars, usually do not carry overhead.
In closing this section, we would like to comment on UC’s policy for distributing overhead income, which, in our opinion, allocates too much overhead to the university’s operating budget rather than plowing it back into new initiatives. To illustrate, in 2005, Department scientists alone generated $578 K in overhead, yet the Department budget in the following year received only ~ $12 K in opportunity funds, a paltry return of only 2.1% (counting UCO grants, the return is even lower). This policy of low overhead return deprives department chairs of discretionary money, which weakens their leadership, and it motivates faculty to focus on individual PI grants rather than pool their efforts to create something bigger. As state funds shrink, UC needs to inspire and encourage faculty to search out new resources, but the present overhead policy does not accomplish this.
2.3.6 Faculty size: The official roster of Astronomy ladder-rank faculty since 1998-99 is given in Appendix IVb.D. However, since this table does not reflect administrative and other leaves, we have also prepared Table 3, which shows the effective number of faculty available to serve each year (ignoring sabbaticals). Two versions are shown, one that counts Bodenheimer as a 0.2 UCO FTE and one (with numbers in parentheses) that counts him as a Department member; the latter reflects his real role. Numerically our faculty are dominated by UCO, but in terms of campus FTE, the resources reside in the Department. In June 2007, we had 23 faculty but only 8.6 campus FTE officially allocated to academic instruction (9.4 FTE, depending on Bodenheimer). Table 3 also projects forward through 2010-11 to include two retirements (Bodenheimer and Mathews in June this year), three faculty who have been hired but are yet to arrive (Bernstein, Fortney, and Krumholz), and the two expansion FTEs that are already in the Divisional plan. Further retirements are not foreseen within this period, but some (in UCO) are expected soon after that.
Table 3 shows that the effective number of Department faculty overall has remained quite flat since the last review in 1999-2000. Next year it will actually be one smaller than it was then. The proposed FTE expansion requested at the last External Review therefore did not occur, and in fact we shrank. After next year, the table shows us climbing out of the hole, with a net gain of 2 effective FTE by 2010-11. Remarkably, this year’s number of 7 effective Department FTE is nearly the same as the 6.5 we had in 1975, despite a doubling of campus enrollments and a near-doubling of the graduate program since then. Astronomy would like to participate in future campus growth on, at the very least, a pro rata basis.
Effective Number of Astronomy Ladder-Faculty FTE: History and Projections
Year Department UCO Total
97-98 6 (7) 2.8 (2.6) 8.8 (9.6)
98-99 6 (7) 2.8 (2.6) 8.8 (9.6)
99-00 6 (7) 2.8 (2.6) 8.8 (9.6)
00-01 7 (8) 2.4 (2.2) 9.4 (10.2)
01-02 8 (9) 2.6 (2.4) 10.6 (11.4)
02-03 8 (9) 2.8 (2.6) 10.8 (11.6)
03-04 7 (8) 2.8 (2.6) 9.8 (10.6)
04-05 7 (8) 2.8 (2.6) 9.8 (10.6)
05-06 6 (7) 2.6 (2.4) 8.6 (9.4)
06-07 6 (7) 2.6 (2.4) 8.6 (9.4)
07-08 6 2.6 8.6
08-09 7 2.6 9.6
Projections assuming current Divisional hiring plan with 2 new FTE:
09-10 8 2.6 10.6
10-11 9 2.6 11.6
Explanation: “Effective” faculty does not count faculty who are serving as administrators or who are on whole-year leave for Academic Senate service. Except for sabbaticals, this is the official ladder manpower available to the Department. UCO faculty are officially counted as 0.2 FTE, but their actual Department service is larger, and so the real totals are also larger. The numbers in parenthesescount Bodenheimer as a Department member rather than as a UCO member, which was his real role; they are a truer guide to the real number of Department faculty. Projections past 2008-2009 assume no new retirements but two new hires under the current Divisional plan.
2.3.7 Faculty recruitment, renewal, retention, and diversity:The last External Review committee stressed the importance of successfully replacing the bulge of near-retirement faculty that then existed, especially in the Department. Figure 1 shows three histograms of faculty ages, in 2000 at the beginning of the review period, in January 2007 (this year), and in January 2009, when all faculty now hired will have arrived. Altogether, we will have added eight new faculty during the last review period, six junior and two senior, and the mean age of Department faculty is now substantially lower. Another bulge of retirements (in UCO) is expected to occur late in the next review period and soon after (bottom panel).
The six newest junior appointments (Laughlin, Prochaska, Rockosi, Ramirez-Ruiz, Fortney, and Krumholz) were our first choice in every case, demonstrating that Santa Cruz can compete effectively for the best talent in the world despite handicaps of low salaries and high housing costs. Among recent hires, Ramirez-Ruiz was a Target of Excellence appointment, with expertise in high-energy astrophysics. Since arriving, he has joined the Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics (SCIPP) and the GLAST science team and was just appointed a lifetime Bahcall Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies. He is our first Hispanic faculty member. Jonathan Fortney holds a Spitzer Fellowship at NASA Ames and is a leading theorist in planetary atmospheres. He specializes in high-performance computing and has a foothold in numerous NASA satellite missions. Mark Krumholz simultaneously holds Hubble, Lyman Spitzer, and Princeton Council on Science and Technology fellowships at Princeton. He also specializes in high-performance computing and brings outstanding theoretical strength in the physics of star formation. Collectively, this group strengthens and broadens the theoretical side of the Department while at the same time forging tighter ties with Physics, Earth & Planetary Sciences, and Applied Math. Krumholz and Fortney overlap especially well with observers. In addition to research excellence, additional criteria for these hires were energy, vision, and the ability to nurture a close-knit, vibrant community of scholars. These newest young faculty—and our previous recent hires—possess these qualities in abundance.
The age histograms in Figure 1 show that our program of Department faculty renewal is proceeding successfully, which was the most important challenge singled out by the previous External Review committee. Indeed, with future hires we are in danger of developing another bulge, of youthful faculty. To avoid this and to provide leadership continuity in the face of retirements near the end of the next review period, it is important that one of the future theorist appointments be made at asenior level. The diversity of Astronomy faculty has been steadily growing. Rebecca Bernstein’s appointment in UCO next year will bring the number of female faculty to 5 (out of 23). As noted, Ramirez-Ruiz is our first Hispanic. We were disappointed that our most recent search in 2006-7 did not yield more female applicants, but the advertised positions were in theory, where the number of women scientists is small relative to observational astronomy.
Figure 1: Faculty age histograms at the time of the last External Review (January 2000), this review (January 2007), and in January 2009, when all faculty now hired will have arrived. Faculty presently serving as administrators are not included. The projection to 2009 assumes no retirements and no new hires beyond the two in the present Divisional plan.
Near the time of the last review, two faculty departed for other positions. Dennis Zaritsky left for Arizona in 2000-1, enticed away by a double spousal hire. Lars Hernquist was lured away by Harvard the year before that, attracted by higher salary, better computing (then), and better spousal job opportunities. The departure rate is not high but alerts us to the fact that excellent faculty are always targets for outside offers. Four elements are crucial in retention: (1) adequate starting salaries and housing assistance to assure that young families attain a decent quality of life in their early years; (2) first-class facilities, which means telescopes and instruments for observers and high-
speed computers for theorists; (3) first-class graduate students and postdocs to work with; and (4) effective mentoring during the early years to make sure that faculty integrate fully into the community. The Department can provide (3) and (4) but must rely on UC for most of (1) and (2). The announced UC salary raise of 26% over the next four years will help, and we urge that it be targeted preferentially toyoung and mid-range faculty. In addition, UCSC must be more accommodating to the career needs of spouses, both with respect to better advising on local opportunities and also making new positions for spouses available. This may be especially important in attracting female faculty.