Purpose of workshop: The purpose of the NASA Laboratory Astrophysics Workshop (LAW) 2018 is focused on identifying and prioritizing critical laboratory astrophysics data needs, defined
broadly, to meet the demands of NASA's current and near-term astrophysics missions.
The meeting will also provide a forum within which the community can present and review the current state of knowledge in laboratory astrophysics and identify challenges and opportunities for the field in the near future. LAW 2018 is sponsored by the Astrophysics Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Science, and the UGA Office for the Vice President for Research.

Target audience: astronomers and astrophysicists (observers, theorists, and modelers), space mission scientists, laboratory astrophysicists and astrochemists (experimentalists, theorists, and modelers), instrument developers, and other interested researchers including graduate students and recent Ph.D. recipients.

  • Specific Goals of LAW 2018 include:
    - Identify the critical laboratory astrophysics data needs of NASA's current and near-term planned astrophysics missions;
    - Prioritize those data needs based on the demand to maximize mission scientific return;
    - Assess the degree to which NASA-supported research efforts currently address the prioritized data needs;
    - Assess how funding of critical data needs may be shared across other agencies, e.g. NSF;
    - Review the current state-of-the art in laboratory astrophysics in general and as related to the prioritized data needs;
    - Review the recommendations of previous LAWs and assess progress toward meeting those recommendations, as appropriate;
    - Assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing NASA's Laboratory Astrophysics program in the context of the Astro2010 Decadal Survey report;
    - Begin developing strategies for community input to the Astro2020 Decadal Survey;
    - Generate an electronic volume of science proceedings from the workshop that will serve as a reference to NASA and the community; and
    - Formulate a report summarizing critical and prioritized laboratory astrophysics data needs to guide future NASA funding of the field.

Overview: LAW 2018 is the fifth in a series of NASA-sponsored Laboratory Astrophysics Workshops. Previous LAWs were held in 1998 (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), 2002 (NASA Ames Research Center), 2006 (U. Nevada, Las Vegas), and 2010 (Gatlinburg, TN; ORNL). The strength of these workshops lies in bringing together users and producers of laboratory astrophysics data so that they can understand each other's needs and limitations in the context of NASA's mission needs. The workshops also serve to increase collaboration and cross fertilization of ideas and helps to disseminate the products of NASA-sponsored Laboratory Astrophysics research back to the user community.

The single most important and valuable deliverable from LAW 2018 will be the Report summarizing the recommendations from the workshop. The Report will provide detailed findings on the critical laboratory astrophysics data that are required to maximize the scientific return on NASA's current and near-term planned astrophysics missions and proposed priorities. The Report should be based on community input gathered at the workshop, discussions during workshop breakout sessions, and other solicited input deemed appropriate by the Scientific Organizing Committee (SOC). The Report will be prepared by the SOC and may also outline specific opportunities and threats facing NASA's Laboratory Astrophysics Program, and articulate concrete actions by which the Agency can capitalize on the opportunities and mitigate the challenges.

Lastly, a discussion should also be given as to what can be done in order to ensure continuity of existing modeling packages and laboratory astrophysics databases, to help foster the creation of new faculty positions, and to promote the education and production of future generations of laboratory astrophysics scientists.

Agenda: The SOC will design the workshop program to feature invited talks by members of the scientific community representing mission scientists, astronomers, and data users. The invited speakers will provide a broad overview of the needs in the field. The workshop will also feature posters and some invited and contributed talks by data producers with particular insight to astrophysical applications. Breakout sessions chaired by the SOC members will be held to promote discussion of focused issues of importance to meeting the critical data needs of NASA astrophysics missions. Panel sessions composed of invited speakers will be held to allow for direct community input and engagement.