Issue of May 29, 2009
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson & Michele Montgomery
This week's issues:
1. New Funding Agency ARPA-E
Advanced Research Project Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) has been created to identify technologies with the potential to reduce energy imports from foreign sources; reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions; improve efficiency across the energy spectrum; and to ensure USA remains a technological leader in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies. This new agency is modeled after the very successful defense agency DARPA. This new agency is tasked with funding "game changing," high-risk projects that will promote major changes in how USA generates and distributes energy. More information can be found atBack to top.
2. "Discoveries in Planetary Science" Classroom Powerpoints
From: AAS Electronic Announcement #196 - May 2009
The Education Subcommittee of the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences announces the inaugural release of "Discoveries in Planetary Science" Classroom Powerpoints. These are succinct summaries of discoveries too recent to appear in "Intro Astronomy" college textbooks; each set consists of just three slides to be shown: the discovery itself, a basic explanation based on good planetary science, and the "big picture" context. Another page for further information is provided as well. The first set covers Mars Methane, Extrasolar Planet Imaging, The Chaotic Early Solar System, Mars Sulfur Chemistry, and Mercury Volcanism. Powerpoints and pdf's can be downloaded from
Planetary scientists with recent or upcoming results of broad interest are encouraged to submit them for consideration by providing an initial draft using the template provided on the website. For more information, contact Nick Schneider & Dave Brain at dpsdisc_at_aas.org.Back to top.
3. A Letter to A Daughter
From: Hannah at Women in Astronomy blog, May 24, 2009
In case you haven't been following Dr. Isis' Letters to Our Daughters Project, this is me telling you that you should.Back to top.
4. Publications on Mentoring Women Faculty
From: Michele Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]
A detailed list of publications on mentoring women faculty, including mentoring junior women faculty for professional development and retention, can be found atBack to top.
5. Women in Astronomy: A Resource Guide
A Chinese proverb says "Women hold up half the sky" and celebrating the contributions of women to astronomy can be a good way to give that proverb deeper meaning. For much of history, women with an interest in the universe were kept out of astronomy (as they were out of most professional fields) and they were restricted to helping their husbands or brothers in their scientific pursuits. But this has changed dramatically in the last century, and many of the most important posts in astronomy have been held by women and many key discoveries have been made by them.
400 Years of the Telescope features interviews with Catherine Cesarsky, the President of the International Astronomical Union (which is the U.N. of astronomers); Wendy Freedman, the astronomer who worked with the Hubble Space Telescope to pin down the age of the expanding universe; and Claire Max, who heads the Center for Adaptive Optics (helping astronomer get a clearer view of the sky).
For those who want to explore the contributions of women to astronomy in more detail, we list some general resources and then some articles and books that can help you understand the specific work of a few selected women astronomers. (Note that a number of books for younger readers are included in section 1.)
Download the Women in Astronomy resource guide here:
Contributed by Andy Franknoi (Foothill College)Back to top.
6. Women in Astronomy and Space Science Meeting
Goddard Space Flight Center, along with co-hosts National Science Foundation, University of Maryland, AAS, STScI, NGST, and others, will be hosting a meeting October 21 - 23, 2009 at the University of Maryland Conference Center on the topic of women in astronomy and space science with a focus on not only gender, but also on generation and minorities. This meeting follows up on the "Women in Astronomy" meeting hosted by Space Telescope Science Institute in 1992 and the Pasadena meeting hosted by CalTech in 2003. The topics include: 1) statistics on the state of the field, establishing trends over the last 15 years including the "longitudinal studies" of age vs. makeup of the field and identifying areas for celebration or for concern; 2) research on the impact of gender/ generational/ cultural differences in the science workforce with a focus on practical solutions, 3) issues concerning the work environment and best practices for success of scientists in a diverse work force, and 4) special sessions on the issues of minorities in science, and women in Earth Science.
There is evidence for considerable success in increasing the percentage of women in the field of science and so we aim here to focus more on issues concerning the success of those in the field and solutions for managing a diverse workforce. This meeting will highlight best practices to help the diverse scientific work force to succeed, and will address both the junior members of the field, as well as those who mentor and manage today's diverse scientific workforce. We hope you will join us. Early registration begins June 15, 2009.
More about WIA 2009 can be found atBack to top.
7. Educator Science Showcase Workshops and Spitzer Travel Grant
From: Astronomical Society of the Pacific
The intersection in 2009 of the Year of Science, the International Year of Astronomy, and the 120th anniversary meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) provides a singular opportunity to showcase science and to provide professional development opportunities for those working on the front lines of science education and outreach. As part of the ASP's annual meeting, ASP is pleased to offer a series of workshops and events for K-12 teachers, informal educators, and amateur astronomers engaged in public outreach on the weekend prior to the start of the meeting, September 12-13, 2009, in Millbrae, California. The following four types of workshops are available as well as the day(s) they are offered:
Formal K-12 Educator Workshops (Sat/Sun) Informal Educator Workshops (Sat/Sun) Amateur Astronomer Workshops/Events (Sat/Sun) SETI Institute Speaker Series (Sun)
Information about each of the workshops and registration can be found at
Thanks to the support of the Spitzer Space Center, a limited number of scholarships (of up to $300) are available to eligible participants to help defray their costs of attending the workshop. See the scholarship information page
for eligibility and cost guidelines and for application instructions and deadlines. Information on ASP's annual meeting can be found atBack to top.
8. 4th Heidelberg Summer School: Statistical Inferences from
From: IMPRS Heidelberg
The 4th Heidelberg Summer School on Statistical Inferences from Astrophysical Data is to be held August 10-14, 2009. IMPRS Heidelberg invites graduate students and postdocs to its 4th Heidelberg Summer School. This year's school is centered on how to draw scientific inferences from astrophysical data sets. We will also discuss proper statistical methods that are crucial for testing specific astrophysical models.
The school will present essential statistical concepts and techniques. These concepts will be illustrated through various astrophysical examples. Approaches such as Monte Carlo, maximum likelihood techniques, Bayesian statistics, parametric tests, biases in censored/incomplete data, or time-series analysis will be applied in computer exercises.
The main lecturing program is presented by invited speakers and is accompanied by practical exercises and also science talks on specific topics by local experts.
Invited lecturers are:
--> David W. HOGG, New York University --> Ian McHARDY, University of Southampton --> William H. PRESS, University of Texas, Austin
Deadline for application is June 15, 2009.
Please find more information, our poster, and the application forms under
A limited number of grants are available to partially cover travel expenses of participants.Back to top.
9. Visiting Assistant Professor of Astronomy - Missouri State University
From: AAS JobRegister
The Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science at Missouri State University seeks applications for a one-year visiting assistant professor position. A Ph.D. in astronomy or a closely-related field is preferred. We seek an astronomer who has a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching and research projects. Duties would include teaching two sections of introductory astronomy (about 100 students each) each semester and maintaining (or beginning) a research program which can involve undergraduate students and make use of our local observatory with 0.4- and 0.36-m telescopes with CCD systems. Apply online at
with curriculum vita, cover letter, teaching and research statements, and names of three references. For more information about the Department, visit
Submit Resumes To: Attention: Dr. Robert Patterson, Search Committee Chair Missouri State University 901 S. National Avenue Dept. of Physics, Astronomy & Materials Science Springfield, MO 65897 USA Tel: 417 836-5131 FAX: 417 836-6226
E-mail inquiries to astronomy_at_MissouriState.edu. Missouri State is an EO/AA Employer. Review of applications will begin May 22, 2009 and continue until June 8, 2009 or until the position is filled.Back to top.
10. Visiting Assistant Professor in Astronomy/Astrophysics - Ohio University
From: AAS JobRegister
The Department of Physics and Astronomy and Astrophysical Institute at Ohio University is seeking a Visiting Assistant Professor in Astronomy/Astrophysics. The individual hired to this position will be responsible for teaching one course per term during the three-quarter academic year, and will be expected to participate in the Astrophysical Institute?s public outreach and research activities. The appointment will begin September 1, 2009 for a period of one year, with renewal for additional years contingent on satisfactory performance and availability of funding.
Ohio University is a public institution with an enrollment of 21,000 students. The Department of Physics and Astronomy has 27 permanent faculty and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, including a PhD in physics with a concentration in astrophysics. The University and the Department are committed to excellence in teaching at all levels. Ohio University is a partner in the MDM Observatory, and members of the Astrophysical Institute maintain a vigorous program of theoretical and multi-wavelength observational research.
Applicants for the position should have completed a PhD by September 2009 in astronomy or a closely related field. Applications should be submitted via email to Prof. Joseph Shields at shields_at_phy.ohiou.edu, and should include a cover letter with a statement of teaching interests, a curriculum vitae, and names of at least three individuals who can be contacted to provide letters of reference. Review of applications will begin May 15 and will continue until the position is filled. Ohio University is committed to quality, diversity, and equal opportunity.
E-mail inquiries to shields_at_phy.ohiou.edu. More information can be found atBack to top.
11. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN
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If you experience any problems, please email itdeptaas.orgBack to top.
12. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN
Past issues of AASWOMEN are available at
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.Back to top.