Candidate Statement: Adam Burgasser

Adam Burgasser

Nominated Office
: Vice-President

Affiliation: UC San Diego

Position/Title: Professor of Physics

PhD Institution: California Institute of Technology (2001)

Areas of scientific interest:

  • Observational astronomy of very low-mass stars, brown dwarfs, and extrasolar planets
  • Galactic archaeology
  • Physics and astronomy education research
  • Diversity, equity & inclusion

AAS positions & dates:

  • Member, Ethics Review Task Force (2018 – 2019)
  • Trustee, AAS Council/Board of Trustees (2016 – 2019)
  • Board Liaison, Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy (CSMA) (2016 – 2019)
  • Chair, Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy (CSMA) (2013 – 2016)
  • Member, Appointments Committee (2016 – 2019)
  • UCSD Representative, AAS Agents Program (2015 – present)
  • Member, Warner/Pierce Prize Committee (2013 – 2016)

Other relevant positions and experience:

  • Science Panel Member: Stars, the Sun, and Stellar Populations, National Academy of Sciences Astro2020 Decadal Review (2019 – 2020)
  • Hans Sigrist Visiting Professor, U. Bern (2019)
  • Faculty and Student Teams PI, SDSS IV (2018 – 2019)
  • Fulbright Scholar, U. Exeter (2017 – 2018)
  • Co-director, UCSD-Morehouse-Spelman UC-HBCU Program (2013 – 2019)
  • UCSD Representative, Universities Space Research Association (2010 – present)

Candidate Statement:

I am honored to be nominated to serve in the role of AAS Vice-President. The primary responsibility of the AAS VPs is to plan the scientific programming and assure the success of our winter and summer meetings. Like many of you, my first introduction to the Astronomy community was at an AAS Meeting (AAS 193 in Austin, TX). I've been fortunate to attend nearly 20 meetings over my career. As an AAS Trustee and Committee Chair, I've seen the hard work that the VPs and the AAS staff put in to ensure that these meetings succeed. Great meetings encompass a broad range of exciting astronomical science, diverse plenary speakers and panels, ample opportunities for networking and career development, and an environment that is inclusive for all. Of course, the current COVID crisis has radically changed how we meet, and our current VPs and staff have done an incredible job to ensure that we can meet in the current climate. While we look forward to a time when we can gather in person again, I think it is essential to consider both the challenges and benefits that our current remote meeting format has presented. Are there positive aspects of remote meetings that we can retain, such as more affordable conferences, the ability to participate asynchronously, the inclusion of participants who might not be able to travel, and new ways of engaging with each other? What existing barriers, challenges, or disparities have remote meetings made visible that we need to address? As VP, I would advocate for a follow-up to our 2015 Meetings Task Force led by current VP Stephen Unwin to reimagine AAS meetings in a post-COVID world, based on your input. I would also encourage and support workshops and special sessions that focus on community issues: the culture of astronomy is astronomical science.

The AAS VPs also serve as representatives on the AAS Board of Trustees, setting the policies and priorities that keep our Society working for all of us. I welcome the opportunity to return to the Board and work with our Committees to advance and support initiatives that serve our community. As a former member and Chair of the Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy, I helped to build community through our CSMA Meet and Greet program; collaborated with CSWA, SGMA, and WGAD on common issues of equity; and increased partnerships with our sister Societies: SACNAS, the National Society of Black Physicists, and the National Society of Hispanic Physicists. As VP, I look forward to working with the Board, staff, and all of our Committees to ensure that our Society continues to be responsive to its members' needs and aspirations.