the Nation from Astronomy and Astrophysics have been incorporated into this volume. This volume reflects the consensus of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee; each chapter in the Panel Reports reflects the consensus of the corresponding panel. Every effort has been made to ensure that the recommendations in the two volumes are consistent; if any discrepancy between the report of the committee and a report of a panel remains, the report of the committee takes precedence. The purpose of the panel reports is to describe the new initiatives in more detail, to provide more extensive justification for the priorities, and to give additional priorities, applying typically to small projects, appropriate for individual subfields of astronomy and astrophysics.

The committee’s primary recommendations for new initiatives are summarized in the remainder of the present chapter. Chapter 2 describes the scientific case underlying each recommendation. Programs already in operation or that have been recommended in previous astronomy surveys are summarized in Chapter 3, which also gives full explanations of the proposed new initiatives. Chapters 4 through 6, respectively, describe the benefits that astronomy and astrophysics provide to the nation, discuss the role of astronomy in education, and offer policy recommendations aimed at maintaining the health of the discipline and enhancing its contributions to science in general. A glossary of technical terms and a list of abbreviations and acronyms are included in an appendix to this volume.

OPTIMIZING THE RETURN ON THE NATION’S INVESTMENT IN ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS

The United States has made and continues to make a significant investment in exploring the universe. In exchange, the nation deserves the maximum scientific return for this investment and widespread dissemination of the results. The astronomy and astrophysics enterprise depends on highly trained and motivated people, on technologically sophisticated facilities and missions, and on institutions properly equipped to manage them. How can this system be optimized to address the frontier scientific problems most effectively, both now and in the future?



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