Candidate Statement: Megan Donahue

Nominated Office: President

Affiliation: Michigan State University

Position/title: Professor of Physics and Astrophysics

PhD institution: University of Colorado (1990)

Areas of scientific interest:

  • Clusters of galaxies
  • Brightest cluster galaxies
  • Galaxy evolution and AGN feedback
  • Multi-wavelength observations (X-ray, UV, optical, IR)
  • Physics of diffuse gases
  • Astronomy education and scientific literacy

AAS positions & dates:

  • AAS eBook Editorial Board (2016-1018)
    AAS Chambliss Book Award Committee (2010-2011, chair 2011)
  • AAS Councilor (2006-2008) - as an AAS Councilor, between 2006-2008, I served on the Appointments Committee, Committee on Astronomy in Public Policy, as the IAU US National Committe Category II member, and on the Annie Jump Cannon Award Committee (chair 2007).

Other relevant positions and experience:

  • Self-employed textbook author, with Jeffrey Bennett, Nicholas Schneider, and Mark Voit, of The Cosmic Perspective series, introductory level undergraduate astronomy textbooks and Mastering Astronomy, published by Pearson (1999-present; 8th edition)
  • National Academy Committee for Astronomy and Astrophysics, member, 2012-2017
  • NASA Senior Review of extended missions other than HST and Chandra, chair, 2016
  • AURA Observatory Oversight Committee, member, 2016-2018.
  • South African Large Telescope Visiting Committee, member Oct. 2016.
  • Space Telescope Institute Visiting Committee, 2011-2015 (3 committees)
  • X-ray Surveyor Science and Technology Development Team, member, 2016-2020
  • Athena+ Science Working Group, US member, 2015-present
  • SOAR Science Working Group, MSU member, 2010-present
  • NAC/NRC Review of AFTA-WFIRST, member, 2014
  • AAAS Astronomy/Astrophysics elected as at-large representative, 2012-2015
  • Elected AAAS Fellow, 2012
  • WFIRST Science Definition Teams, member of all three teams, 2011-2015
  • IAU Office of Astronomy for Development Steering Committee, South Africa, member, 2010-2015
  • NASA Senior Review of all extended operating missions, member, 2012
  • National Academy 2010 Electromagnetic Observations from Space Prioritization Panel, member, 2009-2010
  • National Academy of Science/National Research Council Mid-term Astrophysics Decadal Review, member, 2006-2007
  • Joint Dark Energy Mission Science Definition Team, member, 2004-2005
  • XMM-Newton Users Group, member, 2003-2007
  • NASA GSFC Space Science Directorate Visiting Committee on Data Analysis and Archiving, member, 2002.
  • Chandra Users Committee, member, 1998-2001
  • High Energy Astrophysics Archive Users Group 1996-1999
  • NASA Astronomical Data Center / Astronomical Data Facility Steering Committiee, member, 1997-2002, last year as chair.
  • NASA Astrophysics Subcommittee, member, 1991-1995

Proposal review service: Chandra (2016 LP, 2012 panel chair,2002,2000) XMM (2013 panel chair, 2011 chair), Suzaku (2015, 2011 panel chair), HST (2010 panel chair, 2008 member, 1998 HST Fellowship member ), NOAO (2014 panel chair, 2004-2006 member), NSF (2009 member, also 2001, 1996), NASA Einstein Fellowship (2010 chair, 2009 member,2000-when it whas a Chandra Fellowship), Spitzer 2004 member, Irish National Science Foundation (2007, member)

Candidate Statement: A thriving culture of scientific discovery is crucial for a well-functioning, informed society. The AAS’s mission, to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe, is accomplished through service to its membership, development, rigorous peer review, and dissemination of scientific innovation and discovery, and strong advocacy of science at the national level. As a society, we also share the adventure of science, by publicizing astronomical discoveries and the new perspectives they bring, with the rest of the world. I am honored to be nominated for AAS president, and my task will be to humbly serve the organization and its mission to the best of my abilities. I have advised both NASA and ground-based observatories, and I am passionate about research and education. I believe science and society benefit from open communication and the trust that results from those exchanges of perspectives. I would like to increase the reach of our meetings while reducing their carbon footprints and costs. I propose to increase AAS-supported outreach to underserved communities. We have hard work to do to meet the challenges ahead, from shrinking science budgets to meeting our own high standards for opportunities for all. The Earth as a pale blue dot is a powerful image of fragility but also hope. We can make a difference if we work together.