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Science and Space Policy in the Current Era

Physics/Astro Auditorium

Ashlee Wilkins (AAS)

October 11 @ 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

As science educators, researchers, communicators, and/or supporters, we cannot deny the connection between science and government. The ability to send missions to Mars, to study star formation in a galaxy, and to model the early universe primarily depends on both government — i.e., taxpayer — money and public — i.e., not just scientist — support. Scientists can and do engage in work to determine the direction of our field and how society prioritizes science. As we approach the 2018 midterms, two years in to a new administration, how is science faring on a national stage? In this talk, I will discuss the current environment for science and space policy in general, and current events dominating policy discussions in the astronomical sciences in particular, including NASA flagship mission development, sexual harassment in the sciences, NSF facilities support, and how Congress has responded to the Trump administration’s science priorities. I will discuss the role of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in such discussions and in advocating for the astronomical sciences in Washington and what individual scientists can do to effectively engage in the political process.