Physics of the Cosmos
Exploring fundamental questions regarding the physical forces of the universe

Future Innovations in Gamma Rays

FIG SAG Workshop

Michigan Tech, Houghton, Michigan
24 – 28 June 2024

The Future Innovations in Gamma-Ray Science Analysis Group (FIG SAG) invites you to Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula for a workshop that we hope will define the future of gamma-ray science at NASA.

The meeting will alternate between in-depth discussion and drafting sections for the report and broader conversations that bring these ideas together. There are opportunities for talks, but much of the meeting will be about defining and discussing key questions for future missions and outlining the metrics and priorities for key science areas for the next two decades.

The registration and abstract deadlines are May 15.

Abstracts & Registration

If you would like to attend the meeting at Michigan Tech, please fill out the registration form.

Additional Details

The local organizers need a rough count in order to finalize planning for the meeting. There may eventually be a registration fee, not to exceed $200, which provides for morning and afternoon coffee as well as lunch and shuttle service throughout the week.

Speakers will be invited to fill in the plenary talks to give overview and framing for the project and the meeting.

Contributed talks will be 5 – 10 min long to introduce topics for further discussion in specific areas.

Conference Proceedings or white papers may be submitted (up to 4 pages)on your specific topic to inform the writing of the report. These will be due by Dec 6, 2024.

Abstracts may be submitted on any topic because the Chairs acknowledge that we may have missed important considerations and we want to make sure there is opportunity to include them. We would like to specifically invite abstracts with long-ranging, programmatically strategic categories in mind. We are explicitly not looking for talks that focus on promoting a particular mission or a technology associated with a particular mission. However, we are aware that research into science case thresholds and technological requirements is often done in the context of mission development — so you can mention missions, but try to keep the focus on the science case, technology, threshold, and / or gap.

In the parallel sessions, we are looking for talks that set the stage for discussion on baseline science cases for categories of observables. A first baseline science case is going to be one for which the maximum is required — what is the most stringent requirement and what science case is that requirement associated with? We also want to track secondary and tertiary science cases — if a given mission (in the abstract sense) can’t meet the first threshold, what are the next items down the line? Here is an outline with some ideas:

  • Timing & effective area
    • GRBs ~100ms
    • Magnetars / Pulsars, time a millisecond pulsar ~ms
    • flux, photon arrival time
    • localization
  • Spectral resolution
    • gamma-ray lines
    • DM / ALPs, CR, LIV
    • lensing of GRBs against compact objects
    • Need to develop threshold cases
    • Doppler shifts of lines can break degeneracies in distances in other galaxies
  • Polarization
    • MDP per flux, energy range
    • AGN, Magnetars / Pulsars, GRBs
    • Sensitivity to get better time resolution on polarization measurements for variable sources
  • Atomic / Nuclear / particle physics decay
    • Counterpart to nonthermal particle acceleration, decay
    • Bottlenecks of not quite knowing which process causes observed emission

We are also interested in talks that focus on Leveraging new technologies, Technology Gaps, Nonthermal Plasmas, and Particle Acceleration.

Preliminary Schedule


We anticipate that people will come into town over the weekend.

We are currently planning for plenary sessions on Monday to set the stage and define the goals of the meeting. There will be a number of talks on this day from the Chairs and invited speakers, going over strategy and context.

On Tues, Wed, and Thursday, we have parallel sessions on specific topics. We are anticipating contributed talks in the morning that lead into strategic discussions and working sessions in the afternoon. Each day will close with a plenary session to bring everyone up to speed on highlights of the other parallel sessions.

Friday is currently allocated for plenary sessions on complementarity with other wavelengths and messengers, messaging for a variety of audiences, and final thoughts going into the report strategy.

Travel & Accomodation


There is a room block held at the Super 8 in Houghton, which is the closest hotel to campus and has the best view of the lake. The rooms are spacious and well appointed. The block expires May 23. To reserve a room, call Super 8 at 906-482-2240 and mention the MTU Fig/Sag Conference Room Block.

There is also a Hampton Inn & Suites in Houghton, where we have arranged for a discount code.

The nearest airport is Houghton Memorial Airport with twice daily service from Chicago O’Hare on United Airlines. Michigan Tech will provide shuttle service to and from the airport.

There is also an airport in Marquette, and we can provide a less frequent shuttle service to and from the university if necessary.

June is tourism season in the Upper Peninsula for hiking and boating, so please consider making your travel arrangements early, and let us know if you need any assistance.

Both hotels provide breakfast. The registration fee covers catered lunch and coffee in the morning and afternoon. You will be on your own for dinner most nights. We are trying to arrange a conference dinner on Thursday evening, TBD. Houghton and Hancock are both adorable towns lined with restaurants and bars.

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