American Astronomical Society and Public Policy

Nov 16, 2018 - 10:30 am to 11:30 am

SLAC, Kavli 3rd Floor Conf. Room

Ashlee Wilkins (AAS)

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. In astronomy and astrophysics, the funding primarily comes from NASA, NSF, and DOE, and each agency has a distinct approach to the work of basic research. Scientists can and do engage in work to determine the direction of our field and how society prioritizes science. Coming off of the 2018 midterm elections and 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.