Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Importance of Names in Astronomy

Figure from Dr. Grier's Medium article. NASA Photojournal.
Astronomy and Planetary Science are fields with numerous opportunities for naming objects. From the many stars in the sky to the rocks on the surface of Mars, scientists have made many choices about what to call the objects they study. Several recent articles have highlighted the importance of using names that are inclusive and make connections to various cultures.

As Dr. J. A. Grier wrote in her recent Medium article, The Crisis of Naming the Universe: "There are too many awesome names that we can choose from for us to spend one single moment considering a name that hurts anybody at all.  In fact, we can do better than ‘not hurt’ people — we can encourage, lift up, and empower them with our choice of names."

The efforts of many experts who have chosen diverse names have been highlighted in recent articles:

The theme of inclusive naming was also mentioned in Nature's article on the naming of interstellar asteroid 'Oumuamua (Hawaiian-language experts make their mark on the Solar System).

The IAU recently recognized the Australian Aboriginal names of four stars in the night sky (The stories behind Aboriginal star names now recognized by the world's astronomical body).

The Symmetry Magazine article, Rivers in the Sky, discusses the naming of some Milky Way star streams after native words relating to water or rivers in Chile and Australia. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Astro2020: Co-Chairs announced, Deadline Extended and AAS 233 Astro2020 Town Hall on Wed Jan 9

The National Academy of Sciences has appointed Fiona Harrison and Robert Kennicutt Jr. to co-chair the upcoming Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Astro2020. We encourage our community members to strongly consider having their voices and priorities for the next decade heard through white paper submissions, especially our junior, female and/or underrepresented minority professionals and those served by AAS diversity committees.

Please also consider attending the Decadal Survey Town Hall and Astro2020 Status Report at the upcoming AAS 233 meeting in Seattle, Wed. Jan. 9, 6:30-8 PM, Room 6B.

Anyone wishing to provide scientific input to Astro2020 now has an extra month to do so. The window for submitting science white papers opens at 12:01 am Eastern Time on Monday, 7 January 2019 and submissions will be accepted through 5:00 pm ET on Tuesday, 19 February 2019. This call is only for science white papers.  Later calls are anticipated for other topics, like missions, facilities, policy, and the state of the profession.

Cross-post: AAS 233 events from the CSMA Newsletter

The winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society will take place Sunday January 6 through Thursday January 10 in Seattle, WA. This cross-post contains events and sessions featured in the latest CSMA Newsletter that may be of interest to those supporting astronomers of color and social justice topics. We have supplemented the listing with additional events featuring the other AAS diversity committees.

Friday, December 21, 2018

AASWomen Newsletter for December 21, 2018

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
December 21, 2018
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, and JoEllen McBride

[Happy Holidays to all! --eds.]

This week's issues:

1. Transitioning From Astronomy to the Space Industry 
2. Conference attendance boosts authorship opportunities
3. COSPAR SYMPOSIUM CALL FOR PAPERS: “Small Satellites for Sustainable Science and Development”
4. Women Scientists Who Made Nuclear Astrophysics
5. NASA Appoints Its First Female Chief Flight Director 
6. How One Organization Is Keeping Women In STEM Careers   
7. How Implicit Bias and Lack of Diversity Undermine Science  
8. What Happens When You Double Blind Astronomers?
9. Job Opportunities   
10. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
11. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
12. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter