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Congressional Briefing: The State of the Universe 2014

On 9 January 2014 the American Astronomical Society, with co-hosts Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, delivered the first ever State of the Universe address to a packed house in the briefing room for the Subcommittee on Space, 2325 Rayburn House Office Building. We were pleased to have Chairman Lamar Smith join us for opening remarks.

Featured at our event:

C. Megan Urry
President-Elect, AAS
Professor, Yale University

David J. Helfand
President, AAS
Professor, Columbia and Quest Universities

Ari Buchalter
Chief Operating Officer, MediaMath

Blake Bullock
Business Development Director for Civil Air and Space, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
Mentor Educator, NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program

Bios for all of our speakers can be found here.

Summary

Following Chairman Smith's opening remarks, AAS President David Helfand delivered a sweeping overview of the many exciting discoveries we've achieved since he was first inspired to study astronomy. From the discovery of black holes lurking at the centers of almost all galaxies to that of planets circling the majority of stars in our galaxy to the revelation that over 90% of our universe is made up of matter and energy whose nature we still do not understand, the past 40 years have opened our eyes to a universe more interesting than we could have imagined. All these discoveries are enabled by an "astronomy ecosystem" that includes NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy Office of Science, among other agencies, together with our world-leading universities, national laboratories, and high-tech industries.

In David's words, "The creation of knowledge, the generation of excitement, and the development of perspective is what our study of the universe provides." Our panelists — Blake Bullock, Ari Buchalter, and Peggy Piper — each demonstrated, through their personal successes, how this excitement and perspective lead directly to major contributions to our nation's prosperity. Whether through working with our industry partners to build the most powerful space telescope we've ever built, or in applying the mathematical rigor and analytical perspective gained from studying astrophysics to challenging problems in business, or in working alongside students on exciting and original astronomical research, each of our panelists demonstrated how federal investment in the astronomical sciences broadly benefits our society.

Program

Keynote Presentation

David J. Helfand
President, AAS
Professor, Columbia and Quest Universities

PDF with Links to Contextual Information
Accompanying Remarks

Prepared Remarks from Panelists

Blake Bullock
Business Development Director for Civil Air and Space, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems
Prepared Remarks

Ari Buchalter
Chief Operating Officer, MediaMath
Prepared Remarks

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
Mentor Educator, NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program
Prepared Remarks

Accompanying Materials

Invitation Flyer
Informational Leave-Behind

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