policy

Help Shape the Future of Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy

by Kelle November 30, 2011

I am a member of the new System Roadmap Committee formed by NOAO to assess the state of the ground-based optical and infrared system of observing facilities, including both private (e.g., Keck, Magellan) and public (e.g., NOAO) observatories. We are a successor to the past ALTAIR and ReSTAR Committees that performed valuable one-time assessments of […]

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US Ground-Based Astronomy Threatened

by Kelle October 25, 2011

The latest NOAO Currents: October 2011 lays out the current dire landscape for ground-based facilities in the US. They have set up an online forum (just a blog post with a comments section) to facilitate a discussion amongst the community (that means us). The signals from National Science Foundation Astronomy division (NSF AST)  imply that […]

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Call to Action to Save JWST

by Kelle September 2, 2011

Honestly, I haven’t been keeping up with the day-to-day developments about the threat to cancel to JWST. I assumed that the cancellation by the House Appropriations Subcommittee in the FY12 budget proposal was an empty threat and that the higher-ups in the US Astronomical community would take care of it. However, based on conversations with […]

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What do you think the priorities should be for US ground-based astronomy?

by Kelle August 26, 2011

NOAO, the US national center for ground-based astronomy, is soliciting community input in advance of the NSF’s Astronomy Portfolio review. Some of the NOAO facilities included in that portfolio are the small and medium-aperture telescopes on Kitt Peak in Arizona and Cerro Tololo in Chile and Gemini-North and South. In NSF speak, “the goal of […]

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Update on grad student unionizing

by Jane June 22, 2011

New developments over at NYU with larger potential impact:  an NLRB official says that grad students trying may actually be employees: In a decision issued last week, Elbert F. Tellem, acting director of the NLRB’s regional office in Manhattan, said the graduate assistants, practically speaking, have “a dual relationship” with the university that is “both academic […]

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Revised NSF Merit Review Criteria

by Kelle June 21, 2011

The NSF has been reviewing the merit review criteria (i.e., Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts). Based on the largely consistent input of 5,100 individuals, they have now drafted revised review criteria (below). To me, the criteria are actually the same, it’s just the wording has been changed to clarify the intent. In addition, they have […]

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A Tale of Two Budgets

by Planck February 17, 2011

I’m going to write a bit about science funding, both in the President’s FY 2012 budget and in the yet-to-be-passed FY 2011 budget. But before I go into that, let me preface this piece with my honest opinion on the much bigger budget picture: President Obama has made a tactical mistake in the budget cutting […]

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Spectrum summarizes 2010 Decadal Survey’s approach towards minorities

by saurav February 6, 2011

The January issue (pdf) of the Spectrum, the newsletter of the AAS Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy, summarizes the 2010 Decadal Survey Report’s (New Worlds, New Horizons, on Astronomy & Astrophysics) comments on minorities and what should be done in the next ten years to improve astronomy’s abysmal record. Given its length and unfamiliarity, […]

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Should the Rumor Mill be more than… a rumor mill?

by Kelle January 28, 2011

KC poses a provocative question over on the Rumor Mill: It’s obvious the Rumor Mill is much more popular than just a few years ago. That’s to be expected now that most young astronomers (the primary drivers of the job market) are well-acquainted with wiki’s, Facebook, etc. Should selection committee’s start taking advantage of this […]

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JWST Will Not Ravage the NASA Astrophysics Budget

by Kelle December 8, 2010

Based on this article and some discussion with an insider, it’s worth contiuing our earlier discussion about the JWST mis-budgeting. Exclusive: NASA’s Plan to Save Astrophysics From Space Telescope’s Budget Overruns | Wired.com “They’re not going to ravage the astrophysics budget,” said Alan Boss, an astrophysicist at the Carnegie Institution for Science and chair of […]

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