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1st Media Advisory, 224th AAS Meeting, Boston, MA, 1-5 June 2014

2 April 2014

Dr. Rick Fienberg
AAS Press Officer
+1 202-328-2010 x116; cell: +1 857-891-5649

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, people have been calling Boston the “Hub of the universe” since the 19th century. But it’ll be no joke when the American Astronomical Society (AAS) convenes its 224th meeting, 1-5 June 2014, at the Westin Copley Place in the city’s historic Back Bay district, 10 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116.

The AAS offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and public-information officers (PIOs); see details below.

Even without the AAS in town, the Greater Boston area occupies a key spot on the astronomical map thanks to its being home to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, Boston College, Tufts University, the University of Massachusetts, the Chandra X-ray Center, Sky & Telescope magazine, the American Association of Variable Star Observers, and several other institutions with cosmic connections. With so many astronomers already in the neighborhood, the Boston meeting promises to be a particularly dynamic gathering — all the more so because the AAS Solar Physics Division (SPD), Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD), and Historical Astronomy Division (HAD) will be meeting with us too.

Among the scientific highlights of the meeting are a baker’s dozen plenary presentations, featuring the Kavli lecture by cosmologist David Spergel (Princeton), the Pierce Prize lecture by quasar expert Nadia Zakamska (Johns Hopkins), and talks by the winners of the SPD Hale and Harvey prizes. More than 750 contributed oral and poster presenters will share their latest ideas and discoveries across the full spectrum of astronomical topics. You can dive deeper into six subject areas via four special sessions (astronomy R&D using picosatellites, observational and theoretical aspects of the multiverse, long-time-domain astronomy, and assorted topics in astrostatistics) and two multisession Meeting-in-a-Meeting programs (gamma-ray constraints on the extragalactic background light and the intergalactic magnetic field, and planets beyond the reach of NASA’s Kepler mission).

Six LAD sessions, covering topics from particles to planets, explore the theme “Bridging Laboratory and Astrophysics.” Two more, convened jointly with SPD, are themed “Bridging Laboratory and Solar Plasma Studies.” SPD has organized no fewer than 14 of its own sessions on topics ranging from the solar interior to the corona and out into the heliosphere. There will also be several Town Hall meetings, where attendees can hear from, and provide feedback to, senior representatives from NASA, NSF, and the National Research Council’s Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics. 

Travel & Lodging

General information about travel and accommodations, including airline and rental-car discount codes, is onlineTo reserve a room at the Westin Copley Place at the AAS meeting rate, click on the corresponding link or dial the phone number provided on that page. Deadline for hotel reservations at the AAS meeting rate: 8 May 2014.

Complimentary Press Registration

The AAS offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and PIOs, as described on described on our press-credentials page.

To request complimentary press registration, send an e-mail message to AAS Press Officer Dr. Rick Fienberg with your name and media affiliation (or "freelance" if applicable). Upon confirming your eligibility, he'll send you the URL of an online registration form and the required press-registration code. Although press registration will be available on site at the meeting, we strongly advise you register in advance to avoid lines at the registration booth. Please send your e-mail request to as soon as you know you're coming to the meeting.

Press Arrangements

The AAS will operate a press office in the Rockport Room at the Westin Copley Place, with working space, telephone, photocopier, printer, power strips, and Internet connectivity for reporters. Each registered journalist and PIO will have a mailbox there to receive all press releases distributed as hard copies at the meeting (most releases will be distributed only electronically). 

Press conferences will be held in the Harbour & Ipswich Rooms, which will be equipped with a sound system, mult-box, and Internet connectivity. We anticipate holding briefings twice daily — one in the morning and another in the afternoon — Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, but not Thursday. Briefing audio, slides, and video will be available live via webcast to accredited journalists unable to attend in person; online participants will be able to ask questions of the presenters via text chat with an on-site press officer. Details will appear in a subsequent advisory.

Press Tour & Press Dinner

We expect to offer a press tour to a local astrophysical attraction. While details are still being finalized, we expect this event to occur on Sunday afternoon, June 1st, so please arrange your travel to Boston accordingly. (Baseball fans: Your only chance to see the World Series champion Red Sox play during the week of the AAS meeting is also Sunday afternoon, after which the team leaves for a road trip.) Plans are also afoot for a no-host press dinner on Tuesday evening, June 3rd. Details on both press events will be announced in a subsequent advisory.

AAS Press-Release-Distribution Service

If you don't already receive astronomy-related press releases forwarded by e-mail from the AAS Press Office, you should sign up now to guarantee that you receive future meeting advisories as well as electronic copies of all press releases issued during the meeting. To sign up for the AAS press-release-distribution service, for which there is no charge, please send an e-mail to Rick Fienberg with your name, media affiliation, mailing address, and phone, fax, and mobile numbers. Only accredited journalists and public information officers are eligible to receive press releases forwarded by the AAS, as described on our press-credentials page.