Development Plans for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Journal Articles uri icon

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  • (abridged) The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) was the top-ranked priority for a new ground-based facility in the 2000 Canadian Long Range Plan. Ten years later, at the time of LRP2010, ALMA construction was well underway, with first science observations anticipated for 2011. In the past 8 years, ALMA has proved itself to be a high-impact, high-demand observatory, with record numbers of proposals submitted to the annual calls and large numbers of highly cited scientific papers across fields from protoplanetary disks to high-redshift galaxies and quasars. The LRP2010 ALMA white paper laid out 8 specific metrics that could be used to judge the success of Canada's participation in ALMA. Among these metrics were publications (number; impact), collaborations (international; multi-wavelength), and student training. To call out one particular metric, Canadians are making excellent use of ALMA in training graduate students and postdocs: as of June 2018, 12 of 23 Canadian first-author papers were led by a graduate student, and a further 4 papers were led by postdocs. All 8 metrics argue for Canada's involvement in ALMA over the past decade to be judged a success. The successful achievement of these wide-ranging goals argues strongly for Canada's continuing participation in ALMA over the next decade and beyond. Looking forward, our community needs to: (1) maintain Canadian access to ALMA and our competitiveness in using ALMA; (2) preserve full Canadian funding for our share of ALMA operations; (3) identify components of ALMA development in which Canada can play a significant role, including stimulating expertise in submillimetre instrumentation to capitalize on future opportunities; and (4) keep Canadians fully trained and engaged in ALMA, as new capabilities become available, reaching the widest possible community of potential users.


  • Wilson, Christine D
  • Chapman, Scott
  • Dong, Ruobing
  • Francesco, James di
  • Fissel, Laura
  • Johnstone, Doug
  • Kirk, Helen
  • Matthews, Brenda
  • McNamara, Brian
  • Rosolowsky, Erik
  • Rupen, Michael
  • Sadavoy, Sarah
  • Scott, Douglas
  • Marel, Nienke van der

publication date

  • October 9, 2019