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Brouwer Award Nominations Deadline Extended!

The Dirk Brouwer Award was established to recognize outstanding contributions to the field of Dynamical Astronomy, including celestial mechanics, astrometry, geophysics, stellar systems, galactic and extra galactic dynamics. The Selection Committee seeks a wide range of award candidates differing in age, gender, nationality, occupation, field of interest, and scientific and technical contributions. The main criteria, which are not necessarily weighted equally, are:

JWST Resources from AAS 221

The James Webb Space Telescope project continued to make solid progress in 2012.  Several of the key mission milestones were completed this past year, and the telescope is on track for an October 2018 launch. The JWST team participated in the 2013 AAS meeting in Long Beach CA, and presented the community with a number of updates on the present status of the project, the future outlook, and the science opportunities. Many of the resources from the meeting are now available online.

AAS Website Soft Launch - We're Excited!

The AAS is pleased to announce the "soft-launch" of our new website and member communication system, which represents the culmination of very large amount of work by members of the AAS staff and external contractors over the past year and more.  We will be rolling out the website and its new functionality over the coming months, so stay tuned for some exciting new features.  

Honored Elsewhere

AAS members among New Class of AAAS Fellows
In October 2012, the AAAS Council elected 701 members as Fellows of AAAS. These individuals will be recognized for their contributions to science and technology at the Fellows Forum to be held on 16 February 2013 during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. The new Fellows will receive a certificate and a blue and gold rosette as a symbol of their distinguished accomplishments.

ACS-PHYS Division

We are pleased to announce that at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia, the ACS-PHYS division established a new Astrochemistry Subdivision.  Astrochemistry is the study of the abundances and chemical reactions of atoms, molecules, and ions and how they interact with radiation in both gas and condensed phases in Solar Systems and in the Interstellar Medium.  The new Subdivision provides an interdisciplinary "home" for individuals interested in this growing research area.

From the Executive Office

The Long Beach meeting is underway as I write this column (during a break between sessions). Roughly 2500 people attended the meeting and judging by the hoarse voices and happy grins mid-week, most valued the opportunity to speak with and hang-out with their colleagues. Organizing a meeting of this size and logistical complexity is not easy and takes real professionals working both on site and for years (literally) ahead of time to pull it off.

President's Column

As I noted in my opening remarks at the 221st meeting of the Society in Long Beach, the state of the AAS — unlike that of the nation — is strong. We ended the year with a small positive balance in the Society's account for the fourth year in a row. Our collection of journals — the highest impact journals in the world in our field — is in even stronger financial shape.

Member Deaths

The Society is saddened to learn of the deaths of the following members, former members, and affiliate members:

Bertram D. Donn
John Galt 
Robert Hobbs
Arthur Page
Stephan D. Price

Improving the Status of Women in Physics (and Astronomy) Departments

Women are now more than 1/3 of physics majors at several top universities and 28% of astronomy assistant professors were women in 20061. Long gone are the days when women were barred from faculty positions in science departments and were not permitted to observe at some astronomical observatories2. Yet women still face challenges that men do not, and this limits the success of the academic research enterprise. Some readers may challenge this premise and I invite them to learn about this topic by attending a Women in Physics or Women in Astronomy meeting.

Report on the National AAS Department Chairs Meeting

The biennial AAS Department Chairs Meeting was held in Chicago on Saturday, 3 November 2012, with about 35 chairs attending from around the nation. The meeting was sponsored by the AAS and organized by Jerry Sellwood (Rutgers) and David Kieda (Utah), with assistance from Jeri Cochran (U. Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). AAS President David Helfand and Executive Officer Kevin Marvel represented the Society.

JWST Science Instrument Payload Update

The JWST science instrument payload is designed as a highly integrated module in which many systems are shared among the science instruments in order to reduce mass, power, and volume resources. This Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) system is a 1.4 metric ton element of the JWST space vehicle that consists of four science instruments, a fine guidance sensor (FGS), 7 other shared hardware systems and two shared software systems.

Candidate Statements

We are grateful for the following AAS members who have agreed to stand for election. Please support their dedication by voting. Members eligible to vote will be notified when the electronic ballot is posted on members.aas.org.

President (vote for one)
Duties of a President:

Washington News

Telling our story has become more and more important as we begin to peer over the fiscal cliff.  We must tell our story on the importance of investing in the astronomical sciences or we risk critical losses in funding.  Contact policy makers and your members of Congress to tell your story on how the astronomical sciences are important to you and to the nation. 

Bringing Sustainability into Your Institution

Sustainability is a complex issue with a large array of consequences ranging from local to global and from scientific and economic to natural and spiritual. As astronomers, we usually apply the same standards of inductive reasoning that we use in our daily work to discern cause-and-effect relationships and to make predictions of the impacts of both natural and human-generated environmental changes on this planet.

Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy

Although recent decades have seen significant progress by women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), this rate of progress is not shared by women scientists belonging to underrepresented minorities. Recognizing this problem, the National Academy of Sciences organized a conference entitled, “Seeking Solutions: Maximizing American Talent by Advancing Women of Color in Academia,” which was held on 7-8 June 2012 in Washington, DC. In preparation, the Academies invited a range of scientific societies to comment on the status of women of color in their disciplines.

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