IR retreat 2011
First email announcement (Oct 9, 2011)

Back to program

Dear All,

As many of you have heard we will have an IR-group Retreat again this year to give us a chance to discuss our science and future strategies in a more relaxed atmosphere than is normally possible at the institute. This year the meeting will take place from:

Sunday, 11 December - Wednesday, 14 December
at Schloss Ringberg

The entire IR-group is kindly invited to this meeting, and we strongly urge all of the science staff, postdocs and PhD students to attend. For those of you who are relatively new to the group, we have group science retreats every two years or so, and they have been an extremely successful and efficient means of communicating science results and project developments within the group.


A preliminary outline for the retreat is given here. A more detailed plan with a full list of topics, session leaders, speakers, times etc. will appear soon on the IR-group web page.

The meeting will be focused in two topical sessions, each containing short presentations and longer periods of discussion and brainstorming. Preliminary topics are:

1) Topic 1: 5-year Science Strategy for the IR Group

- The goal here is to put our future science plans in a broad perspective, building on what we are learning from the ongoing Large Programs and GTO allocations, and setting the stage for the next steps.

- What are the next big questions we want to address?

- What will we do in the future with our next GTO? How should our main science goals drive the instrument portfolio?

2) Topic 2: The next potential hardware projects in the IR

- The "knowns" in the discussion are that PACS is ramping down, ARGOS and GRAVITY are well underway, and, assuming E-ELT approval, we will hopefully be the PI institute for MICADO.

- The goal is to identify and discuss additional projects that we could either lead or participate in with a substantial contribution.

Sunday evening, Dec 11: Arrival, welcome buffet, and Feuerzangenbowle

Monday morning, Dec 12: TOPIC 1

1) "State of the Union" of the IR group - what has been achieved since 2009, where do we stand now, what are obvious next steps in our science and instrumentation, what are more open possibilities and avenues? (Reinhard Genzel)

2) Introduction and overview on connections from Ewine van Dishoeck's star formation group (topic and talks to be decided; Ewine can only participate on Sunday evening and mid-way through Monday afternoon).

3) Discussion of potential science topics (Linda Tacconi coordinates): All participants are invited to bring one slide to present their idea(s) of future topics/proposals. Some research areas include, but are not limited to:

- galaxy evolution + BH growth
- shutdown of star formation around z~1
- BH/AGN physics
- star formation
- instrumentation
- the Galactic Center
- ....

The coordinator will collect names of speakers and ideas about 3 weeks before the meeting. The plan for this session is that, for each research idea, a participant prepares one slide that outlines the goals and requirements for his/her idea. We will group these by research area, with discussion periods interleaved.

Monday afternoon: TOPIC 1

4) Where we stand on with LPs/GTO/future GTO, etc. Short presentations of 15-20 minutes each that summarize the current status and future plans for the Large and GTO programs. (Dieter Lutz coordinates)

KMOS: TBD Ralf Bender ? and Natascha Foerster Schreiber (2 slots)
Making the best use of ALMA: TBD Ewine van Dishoeck?
First steps in IR interferometry: Stefan Gillessen or Leonard Burtscher
NOEMA/IRAM Legacy: Linda Tacconi
Nearby AGN research: Ric Davies
LBT/Lucifer research: Natascha Foerster Schreiber

Monday Evening: Informal discussion with students and postdocs: what are the main concerns of the young scientists? (Stefan Gillessen and Stefano Berta coordinate)

Tuesday morning, Dec 13 (until coffee): TOPIC 1

Continue with talks/discussion from Monday afternoon

Tuesday morning from coffee until early afternoon: TOPIC 2

SPICA/SAFARI (Albrecht Poglitsch/Eckhard Sturm coordinate)

- Get a realistic and solid assessment of what SAFARI will be able to do and where MPE could realistically be able to participate.
- Short presentations including realistic numbers on project timescale, budget, personnel needs, DLR support, etc.
- Discussion of a "white paper" for the project, which the coordinators will prepare in advance of the retreat.

Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning: TOPIC 2

What are the next possible ground-based instrument directions? (Frank Eisenhauer coordinates)

20-25 minute presentations on:

ERIS, the NACO/SINFONI next generation: Reiner Hofmann
LBT 2nd generation instrumentation: Sebastian Rabien
Visible AO: Sebastian Rabien
Project X: Frank Eisenhauer

There will be ample discussion time between each of these presentations, running through coffee time on Wed.

Wednesday morning, Dec 14, from coffee until lunch:

- "Summary of retreat" discussion lead by Reinhard Genzel
- Lists of action items and setting a plan for a way forward - all


As has been the case in the past, most participants will not give a formal presentation, but everyone should come prepared to participate actively in the discussions. The session coordinators will be putting together the detailed programs before the end of October. The coordinators will provide details for their sessions, including suggested reading material, well in advance of the meeting. We will plan to have some gaps in the schedule to foster informal discussions/interactions outside of the lecture room.


1) The retreat will begin at Ringberg at with check-in on Sunday, after 16:00, and will end by noon on Wednesday. There will be a welcome reception with a buffet at the Castle on Sunday evening. We also plan to have a social event later that evening with Feuerzangenbowle and a viewing of the famous movie with the same name.

2) We will likely not be able to accommodate everyone up at the castle, since at full occupancy only 41 people can be lodged at Ringberg. We will use an overflow hotel if necessary. We will use all of the available double rooms as doubles to make full use of Ringberg's capacity.

3) We will get the MPE van to help with the transportation to and from Ringberg. Hopefully, between the van and the large number of private cars we can accommodate everyone. However, there is also regular train service to the nearby town of Tegernsee, with taxi service to the castle from there (see the Ringberg web page).

4) All board and lodging costs will be covered for participants.

To help us to plan the final details of the meeting could you please fill in the questionnaire at the end of this message and send it back to me (with a cc to Susanne Harai-Stroebl) by OCTOBER 21 AT THE LATEST? PLEASE SEND BACK THE FORM EVEN IF YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO ATTEND. I'll send around an updated program and final details shortly thereafter.

If you have any questions or suggestions for the meeting just let me know.




1) Will you attend the "IR Retreat 2011" at Schloss Ringberg?

2) Number of nights at Ringberg or hotel: ___ Sun ___ Mon ___ Tue

Are you willing to share a double room?:

If yes, preferred roommate(s)?:

Do you have special dietary requirements?:

Are you planning to drive, take the train, or do you need a ride to Ringberg?:

If driving, can you take other group members along? How many?:

© Infrared and Submillimeter Astronomy Group at MPE. © Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik.
Impressum, last update: 24-Nov-2011, editor of this page: Thomas Ott