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WorkPlaNS: WORKshop for PLAnetary Nebulae observationS
WORKPLANS Lorentz Center Scientific Report
Marcelo L. Leal-Ferreira
March 15, 2016
Workshop Date: January 25-29, 2016
Organizers: Marcelo L. Leal-Ferreira
The WORKPLANS meeting and its format were inspired by previous meetings organized by the evolved stars scientific community and by the conception of the Lorentz Center events. The aims of the WORKPLANS were (i) to set up an excellent network of researchers in the planetary nebulae (PNe) field (ii) to discuss the most relevant topics to be investigated by the community in the following years, (iii) to prepare high-level observing proposals for the most modern telescopes available at present to address those topics, and (iv) to develop strategies for future observatories.
The week between Jan 25th and 29th was filled with interesting talks and fruitful discussions. On Monday of that week, we focused on general/review talks to bring up the main key questions the community should tackle in the next years. We also had a special session dedicated to one of the next-generation facilities; the James Webb Space Telescope. From Tuesday till Thursday, we concentrated on specific wavelength ranges. In the mornings, we hosted talks focused on the observational window of the day and we had parallel group discussions during the afternoons. Each of these parallel group discussions were dedicated to a specific scientific key question, and its ultimate aim was to outline
observing proposals to tackle such questions. After 2 hours of parallel group discussion, we regrouped all the participants in the main auditorium and hosted a summary by the group leaders. These summaries were initially programmed to occur at the end of each day. However, by having them in the middle of the afternoon we allowed a better interactivity between the groups, and enable the participants to commute among different discussion groups, as the groups proceeded with the parallel discussions after the summary break.
The number of participants in our meeting was 51. This includes (one of) the organizer Dr. Joel Kastner, who had the plan to come to Leiden but was unable to fly due to bad weather conditions and paperwork problems. He still participated remotely throughout the week. Attached to this report, we present 5 pie charts with statistical information on the 51 participants. Chart A shows the gender ratio, chart B shows the fraction of the career stages of the participants, chart C merges the information from charts A and B (the participants were divided in career stages by gender), and charts D and E show, respectively, the continents and countries where the participants are/were based on (at the time of registration). Notice that the identification of the career stage of a researcher is subjective. Single characteristics like age, position, role inside a research group or number of publication are not sufficient to place the researcher in a given stage career if considered alone. Therefore, we highlight that charts B and C should be analysed with caution.
By the end of the workshop we had 6 groups well established, and a number of observing proposals outlined. The follow-up of the proposals in preparation are being done through a website/wiki that we created and which all participants were invited to join. This tool allows new members (either someone that could not attend the meeting or someone that participated on a different discussion group) to also join a specific observing project.
On top of the 6 groups listed above, one observing proposal which was already in preparation by one of the WORKPLANS organizers was brought up for discussion and significant inputs were given by the community. This observing proposal was submitted to the Submillimeter Array on the week immediately after the WORKPLANS, and we can consider it as the first successful outcome of the meeting.
It is also relevant to mention that by bringing up experts in different realms of the spectrum together and by having the meeting format filled with discussion slots, the synergy between the (sub-)communities was facilitated and common points of interest were identified. Even though we can encounter the same diversity of experts in a regular conference, the format of the WORKPLANS and the infra-structure of the Lorentz Center enabled an exchange of ideas that I did not experience in any of the meetings I attended before. Given the mentioned outcomes, and also based on the very positive feedback we received from the participants, we consider the meeting a success. Moreover, we are currently discussing the potential organization of the WORKPLANS 2.