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4 Institutional Issues and Policy Recommendations In contrast with the bright intellectual promise of solar physics, solar physics within the United States is, and has been, beset with a variety of problems of which some have become institutionalized over a number of years. As a result, the United States is rapidly losing its leadership in solar physics. In this chapter, the committee surveys these problems, their origins, and their consequences, and it recommends actions designed to solve them. The committee expects that its recommendations, effectively pursued, will go a long way toward correcting the problems. The scientific initiatives outlined in the foregoing sections are funda- mentally interdisciplinary. Thus, for instance, solar neutrino observations affect particle physics, cosmology, solar physics, and the basic physics of stars. Variations in solar luminosity have an impact on atmospheric physics, solar-terrestrial physics, and stellar physics. Solar fine-scale struc- ture involves both ground-based and orbiting observational instruments and has implications for the physics of solar and stellar activity, as well as solar-terrestrial physics. X-ray and gamma-ray observations involve both balloon-borne and orbiting instruments, with implications for high-energy astrophysics, particle acceleration, cosmic abundances of the elements, and the physics of solar and stellar activity. Ultraviolet observations carried out from space affect solar and stellar physics, as well as magnetospheric and ionospheric physics and atmospheric physics and chemistry. It is evi- dent that effective prosecution of such interdisciplinary initiatives requires a high degree of coordination between diverse groups of scientists in widely separated geographical locations. 42

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43 This requirement for effective interdisciplinary coordination, beyond the usual demands imposed by NSF funding and managing of grants and projects, must be clearly recognized if scientific opportunities are to be exploited in an economical and timely fashion. It must also be recognized that the solar physics community is cur- rently grappling with a number of internal problems involving cutbacks in instrumentation, a demographic decline, and diminished representation on university faculty-that persist because they have become institutionalized (see Appendix A, Bibles N1 and N2~. This means that, with a few excep- tions, the major observing instruments available to solar physics are usually in national facilities and laboratories. There is little university participation in instrument development, and few students are being trained in this cru- cial aspect of the science. The situation has developed over a decade or more and can be traced to many causes, such as ineffective representation of solar physics by the solar physicists themselves, a continual erosion in federal funds available for solar physics, and no major new initiatives for over a decade (until the GONG project). The essential point is that these institutionalized problems in solar physics must not be allowed to stand in the way of the scientific initiatives that lie before us. STRUCTURE OF NSF MANAGEMENT OF SOIL PROGRAMS At present, support for solar physics within NSF occurs within the Geosciences Directorate's Atmospheric Sciences Division and Division of Polar Programs, and within the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Direc- torate's Astronomical Sciences Division (see Appendix B. liable B.1~. None of these entities has responsibility to view solar physics as a whole, with its need for interdisciplinary research. Commendably, considerable coor- dination of scientific activities has occurred between these management structures, as has been evidenced most recently by support for the new initiative for studying the ongoing solar maximum. This separation of research support reflects the great diversity of the solar physics enterprise, which spans an enormous range of physics, from the detailed plasma physics and hydrodynamics of the outer solar atmosphere and solar wind to the general behavior of the Sun as a star. However, since no single entity within NSF has responsibility for managing this overall research program, there is no coherent direction to the overall NSF solar program, strategic planning is lacking, and coordination and collaborative planning take place on an ad hoc and intermittent basis. Advocacy for solar science within NSF is weakened because none of the responsible program managers can speak for the overall solar program, and no one has the totality of solar physics as a primary responsibility.

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44 Part of this difficult is relatively recent in origin. Until 1986, all solar science was carried out within one directorate (the former Astronomical, Atmospheric, Earth, and Ocean Sciences Directorate). The current divided advocacy for the overall solar program has evidenced a potential for severe erosion of individual programs in the competition for scarce resources. Finally, because solar physics is only a part of the overall oversight re- sponsibility of the grants and centers programs of the Atmospheric Sciences, Polar Programs, and Astronomical Sciences Divisions, it is organizationally difficult, if not impossible, to maintain an appropriate balance between the research grants, support for the national centers and observatories, and scientific justification for the facilities portions of the overall NSF solar physics effort. This imbalance can lead to a distorted perception of the size and vigor of the client scientific community. Thus the notion of "proposal pressure," often used by funding agencies to justify expansion of efforts in a particular area of research, is made meaningless if the university community of scientists can respond to the imbalance by shifting proposal submissions. In addition, the bureaucratic separation of the university grants programs in solar physics between at least two directorates has meant that no single office has responsibility for managing a coherent university program in solar physics. The committee recommends that NSF develop a coherent, well- defined infrastructure for solar physics, with that agency properly assuming the lead role in support of basic research in ground based solar physics. Thus the committee recommends that the internal structure for funding of solar research within NSF be changed so that support for both grants and centers is adminis- tered by a single entity within NSF whose primary responsibility is solar physics. This key recommendation reflects the fact that the roots of solar physics indeed lie in the astronomical, astrophysical, and solar-terrestrial communities. The diversity of these roots is both an asset and a liability. It is an asset in the sense that efforts in solar research can span an enormous variety of subdisciplines, thereby offering the researcher a wide variety of intellectual challenges and a broad arena in which to operate. It is a liability in the sense that solar physics is rarely recognized as a core subject an intellectual pursuit of value in itself. Solar physics currently is a minority subject within either the astronomical or the solar-terrestrial community at NSF, whose structure is typically built on traditional root areas; the issues raised above are symptomatic of this. Although solar physics is an interdisciplinary subject, the committee believes that a coherent national program administered from a single office is required to realize the benefits of interdisciplinary efforts.

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45 The close connection of solar physics with space plasma science, mag- netospheric physics, and solar-terrestrial studies suggests that the base of operations would fit most appropriately into NSF's Geosciences Direc- torate, which currently provides a major part of the NSF support for solar physics. On the other hand, the physics of stellar structure and activity, high-energy phenomena, and significant commonality of instrumentation argue for a close connection between solar physics and astronomy (and hence for a connection with the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Di- rectorate). This committee sees the choice of appropriate directorate as properly an NSF decision; however, no matter which directorate is ulti- mately decided on, the recommended solar physics division or section if it is not entitled as a division should have budgetary authority and control comparable to those of a division. The office must be able to speak for itself, bear the responsibility for its initiatives, and have the freedom to de- velop the scientific liaisons that are essential to its projects. Obviously, the person chosen to direct this office, along with successful implementation of the necessary independence and responsibilities of the office, will be crucial to the success of the scientific initiative in solar physics. OTHER MAJOR ISSUES AND NEEDED INSTITUTIONAL CHANGES: DIRECTING FUNDING APPROPRIATELY Respond to Changing Demographics of Solar Physics Solar physics is a research field abundant with exciting opportunities for new students as well as for those already working in the field. Indeed, scientific prospects have never been so promising. As a result, new people are entering the field in Europe, Japan, and China, and first-class students are receiving training and making careers in solar physics overseas in increasing numbers. A similar situation does not prevail in the United States. As detailed in Appendix A, the population of American solar physicists is nearly static and, as one result of the lack of a university presence, is not renewing itself sufficiently for the United States to maintain its leadership role. This is in marked contrast to the situation in, for example, European astronomy. Why? The population of solar physicists in American colleges and univer- sities is small compared to that of astronomy as a whole, and it is thinly dispersed. Although more than 50 universities and colleges have faculty who publish solar physics research, only a handful of academic groups are strong enough to attract and support good students. Most academic solar physics is deficient in numbers and scope, Wpically involving one or perhaps two faculty members working on theoretical studies. Fewer than a dozen

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46 academic groups are involved in developing solar physics experiments. This lack of experimental or observational effort in universities has also resulted in a critical shortage of students and young researchers with experirnen- tal skills. Furthermore, the very deficiencies in the university and college arena have led to no one's surprise to corresponding deficiencies in the current research community. Thus all other factors being equal, solar physics in its minority status in most university departments is handicapped in recruiting enough qualified students. Part of this problem is that is is difficult for individuals or small groups to- establish significant research programs, given the low and fluctu- ating level of NSFs astronomy grants for solar physics research. Another part of the problem is that students and faculty in most departments receive insufficient exposure to front-line solar research, particularly experimental and observational activities. The National Science Foundation cannot easily remedy these demo- graphic issues directly. However, the demographic problems are entwined with other difficulties faced by solar physics as a discipline. This committee firmly believes that in the course of addressing these other problems, NSF must act whenever possible to ameliorate the demographic problems. The following recommendations call attention to such possibilities. Strengthen the Experimental Base of Universities and Encourage Interaction Between National Centers and Universities The deficiencies in the research community engendered by the lack of strong experimental or observational efforts at universities will have serious consequences for the future conduct of solar research in the United States. Whereas a growing number of universities provide, or are actively planning to provide, major nocturnal astronomical telescope facilities that in toto exceed significantly the power of those at the NSF-supported na- tional centers, no corresponding development of solar instrumentation is taking place at universities. Consequently, national centers play a more pivotal role in American solar physics than in astronomy or astrophysics. National centers, as principal employers of experimental and observational talent in the field, must assume greater responsibility for the generation of new talent in this area. Universities need support in this area for two rea- sons: Solar physics requires new talent able to implement new technology effectively, and friendly competition in the development of new techniques for acquiring and analyzing solar data is in the best long-term interests of the science. Such competition arises naturally in physics and in astronomy but evidently is lacking among university solar experimentalists who work in very small groups that are unable to contribute equally to the efforts carried out within the federally funded and government research centers.

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47 The committee recommends that NSF support and encourage uni- versity programs in experimental and observational solar physics and take steps to strengthen the partnership between, on the one hand, federally supported research centers and, on the other hand, universities. The committee recommends that NSF make incremental funding avail- able for extended periods at several selected universities to establish pro- grams directed toward the training of students in solar instrumental and observational techniques. More specifically, the committee suggests that three or four universities be supported with long-term grants that would (1) enhance the universities' extant instrumentation (laboratory or observational), (2) support faculty and students specializing in instrumentation, and (3) encourage the devel- opment of new instrumentation utilizing new technology. The committee suggests that, in the last area particularly, more effective partnerships between universities and federal centers can be forged- partnerships in- volving the exchange of faculty and technical staff, hardware and software, and workshops and short courses. Government, federally funded' centers, and private ' industrial firms engaged in research and development have paid some attention to problems of education and support for university training, but their efforts have been inadequate, at least in the eyes of concerned university faculty. There has been suspicion, because university faculty feel that government and federally funded research centers compete unfairly for the limited federal dollars available for solar research. The same faculty question the balance of NSF funding between support for the national centers and grants to universities, wherein the national centers receive the majority of the funding. This imbalance is especially notable in the case of the Astronomical Sciences Division within the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate. The committee suggests thee the centers more actively engage in the direct support of educational programs at universities and colleges by (1) offering summer undergraduate research opportunities in solar research, (2) supporting graduate research assistantships at universities, including opportunities for partial residency at the centers during a student's tenure, (3) offering postdoctoral appointments at the centers, and (4) sponsoring an active visiting scientist program for the benefit of university teaching and research faculty. The partnership will be real and effective when all centers apply an appropriate amount of their annual solar physics research budgets to the above programs (the historical level of such support at one of NSF's solar research centers has been an approximate level of about 10 percent). The infusion of funds for these educational purposes will clearly signal such a partnership and will enable university programs to advertise to prospective

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48 students and researchers both the existence of a stable base of funding for student and faculty support, and broader experimental, observational, and research opportunities. Protect Newly Funded Initiatives by Ensuring Their Continued Support The vigor of a scientific field is more accurately gauged by the vigor of new initiatives than by the size of the ongoing enterprise. Indeed solar physicists are initiating a number of new programs, discussed in Chapter 3 of this report, that couple novel observations with new theoretical work. This testifies to the basic health of the discipline; however, this committee has also identified a number of serious difficulties that cast the future of these initiatives into some doubt. First, in contrast to the success of the large-scale, national initia- tives at the proposal stage, such as the GONG project, which involves substantial participation of the solar community, smaller-scale, university- based initiatives have fared poorly. Indeed, virtually no funds from the Astronomical Sciences Division's instrumentation program are supporting efforts at universities to develop solar instruments; this is one of the ele- ments contributing to the difficulties of training young experimentalists at . . . universities. Second, although NSF rightly encourages new initiatives, the evidence in solar research is that such initiatives do not receive the necessary commit ment of clearly identified funds to carry them through to completion. Thus NSF effectively has allowed the funding for the GONG project, currently the only funded solar initiative, to be absorbed into the base budget of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO). With the increasing curtailment of the NOAO base budget, this initiative is thus pitted against the NOAO base-level effort for scarce resources. The disturbing tendency to allow funding for exciting new initiatives in the forefront of solar science to become enmeshed in the politics of budget cuts within the base budgets of the national centers forces a confrontation between activities that are really complementary. This NSF-imposed com petition between initiatives and the base level of effort at national centers is well illustrated by the history of funding for the GONG project. A general turnover of scientific projects is healthy, but in the specific case of the national centers this competition pits projects that represent the most vital new science against ongoing and service activities at unique public facilities. The basic justification for national centers to enhance resource utilization needs to be reaffirmed. The committee recommends that NSF protect newly funded ini tiatives in solar physics by ensuring their continued support

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49 until they are completed. Unless funding for such initiatives can be assured within the limits imposed by general federal budget restrictions, NSF should avoid pursuing new initiatives. The com- mittee further recommends that NSF refrain from commingling funds targeted for new initiatives with base-level support funds in response to budget-cutting pressures. Provide Funding for Highest-Priority New Initiatives The following recommendations for specific projects and initiatives are based on the discussions in Chapter 3 and on the committee's judgments of the most interesting and exciting science in the offing. The committee recommends that NSF provide funding for the highest-pnonty new initiatives in the four major areas at the forefront of solar research: (1) probing the solar interior, (2) the physics at small spatial scales, (3) mechanisms underlying the solar cycle, and (4) the physics of transients. Probing the Solar Interior Until recently, all knowledge of the solar interior was limited to the- oretical extrapolation from the visible surface of the Sun, using calculated opacities and an assumed age and chemical composition. The current probing of the solar interior, first through neutrino observations and more recently through helioseismology, has opened a new era in the physics of the Sun and stars. Neutrino observations. The results of the 37C1 neutrino observations are well known: The detected flux of neutrinos in the 1- to 15-MeV range is about one-quarter of the best theoretical value. The discrepancy may lie in the physics of the neutrino, or it may lie in the physics of the Sun. A 5 percent downward adjustment of the theoretical temperature at the center of the Sun would resolve the dilemma. The possibilities involve such fundamental questions that new initiatives are under way to investigate further. The complete neutrino energy spectrum of the Sun would provide especially powerful quantitative constraints on the conditions in the central core, as an important part of determining conditions in the solar interior; measurement of the FIB neutrino properties is particularly important in this regard. While these experiments are being planned and implemented, the suggestion from the 37C1 neutrino detector, that the neutrino flux from the Sun varies with the magnetic cycle, makes it necessary for us to continue that experiment for another decade-to determine, if possible, the reality of the effect and to continue support for the Kamiokande II experiment

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so as well. If there is such a variation of the neutrino flux with the magnetic cycle, it implies that the neutrino has a small but nonvanishing magnetic moment. Heltosezsmology projects. The other partner in the direct probing of the solar interior is the new field of helioseismology, which, by inverting the observed frequency spectrum of global modes of oscillations, can be used to constrain the variation of temperature, molecular weight, and gas density as a function of depth below the surface. By measuring the splitting of the individualp-mode frequencies caused by rotation, helioseismology can constrain the variation of the angular velocity as a function of depth. By measuring local variations of the frequency and amplitude, helioseismology can provide a measure of the magnetic field structure below an active region or large sunspot. The fundamental observational problem is to obtain large, unbro- ken runs of data for the precise determination of the individual mode frequencies. South Pole observations have obtained runs of a few days, demonstrating the feasibility of deduction of conditions down through the convective zone. The GONG project's worldwide network of six observing stations is the scientific initiative aimed at measuring p-modes with degrees from 0 to 300. The data from this project will greatly reduce noise and aliasing, providing a quantitative picture of roughly the outer two-thirds of the solar radius. Helioseismology also holds promise, with a reduced detector background, for the detection of the elusive g-modes. Detection of g-modes is essential for precise measurement of the temperature, den- sity, and molecular weight in the central core, an important adjunct to the future neutrino initiatives in straightening out the puzzle of the physics of the solar interior. The committee urges that the GONG project's network be completed and put into operation in a timely fashion. The Physics at Small Spatial Scales This report has described the important physical problems that can be illuminated by studying the small-scale structure of the solar atmosphere. Current efforts to develop instrumentation for observing and interpreting solar vector magnetic fields should be continued. Equally important are current efforts to develop adaptive optics to achieve high-angular-resolution observations from the ground. But major progress in this area awaits the availability of a large- aperture solar telescope capable of observing the Sun with high angular resolution and high flux levels. Although the solar telescopes on Sacra- mento Peak and at Kilt Peak in certain cases still represent the forefront

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51 of solar instrumentation in the world, this primacy is being challenged now with the advent of the European solar telescopes in the Canary Islands, especially as the Europeans begin to fully equip their new telescopes with modern, state-of-the-art instruments. The committee recommends that NSF give priority to the replace- ment of existing national solar telescopes with state-of-the-art instruments. NSF should vigorously support efforts to replace the National Solar Observatory facilities with a large-aperture solar telescope and should do so at tine' best possible site, possibly in collaboration with European scientists and others. In particu- lar, the committee most strongly recommends that NSF support activities leading to the definition and siting of this new telescope system. One option for pursuing this goal is substantial- participation in the international LEST consortium. The NASA OSL would provide comple- mentary observations, including data at shorter wavelengths. The committee further recommends that, when such new facilities become available and when they meet the needs of the U.S. solar community, NSF consider closing outmoded solar telescopes. Mechanisms Underlying the Solar C>ycle The slow variations in the Sun's output are a consequence of pro- cesses in the solar interior that are very poorly understood. Fluctuations in the Sun's radiation are suspected to have significant longer-term climatic effects. They are known to have significant effects at wavelengths where flux increases on even short time scales can cause dramatic inflation of the terrestrial atmosphere. We must establish a sufficiently long and quanti- tative data base to be able to characterize the terrestrial effects of solar variability. The time is ripe for a new direction in observations of solar variabil- ity, given the advance of technology and the renewed interest in the basic physics of solar variability and in its terrestrial consequences. The establish- ment of a ground-based network of well-calibrated automated telescopes capable of monitoring solar variability on a scale of many years would provide the needed observational capability. This capability should migrate into an observing site in space, such as a space station or preferably a platform at geosynchronous orbit, when that becomes available. The Physics of Itansients Few natural phenomena in the solar system can rival solar hares and transients for the drama of their outbursts. Their indirect effects such

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52 as the aurorae have long been part of the human experience, and they continue to confront us most directly in the disruption of long-distance com- munications. Yet our understanding of these transients and the associated physical processes from particle acceleration to radiative output-is primi- tive, and the effects of these transients on the terrestrial space environment are substantial. Thus aside from posing such questions of fundamental physics as how high-energy particles are accelerated, these transients also challenge our abilities to predict them and their terrestrial effects. With the imminence of the next solar maximum, the current plans of NSF to support related experimental, observational, and theoretical studies are to be applauded. This program, under the aegis of the hIAX-91 initiative, is planned to be carried out in coordination with complementary programs conducted under the purview of NASA The committee supports these plans fully and commends both NSF and NASA for this successful interagency planning effort.