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U.S. National Committee for IAU

The National Academy of Sciences is the U.S. adhering body of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and it maintains its relationship with the union through the U.S. National Committee (USNC)/IAU. The IAU’s mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation.
 

WHAT'S NEW
 
IAU General Assembly
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) will hold its triennial General Assembly in Vienna, Austria on August 20-31, 2018. Registration is currently open (http://astronomy2018.univie.ac.at/home/), and information regarding the final programs of Symposia, Focus Meetings and Division Meetings will be available on May 1. For the list of all meetings and the specific topics, please click here
Poster abstracts can be submitted until May 31, 2018, 24:00 CET.
The U.S. National Committee (USNC) for the IAU will again cosponsor special events for Young Astronomers and for Women in Astronomy.
The USNC/IAU will be represented at the IAU governance meetings by delegates Ken Kellermann (chair), Roger Blandford (vice chair) and David Soderblom.
 
IAU Individual Membership
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is the oldest of the international scientific unions, and one of the few that includes individual as well as national members. Regular IAU members should be at least three years past a PhD in astronomy or related field or have related experience, and be working in a career related to astronomy. For 2018, a new category of Junior Membership was created for those who have just completed their PhD in a branch of astronomy or astrophysics.

The IAU application window opens once every three years in the year before the General Assembly is held. Applications were accepted from early September 2017 until February 2, 2018.

The applications are first considered by the National Committee from the applicant's country. This year, the U.S. National Committee for the IAU reviewed and recommended over 200 applicants from U.S.-based astronomers. All national recommendations will be further reviewed by the IAU Membership Committee, and a final vote of approval will be taken at the IAU General Assembly. Following the General Assembly, applicants will be notified if they have been accepted. IAU membership is not required to participate in the General Assembly.

U.S. National Committee Meetings
The U.S. National Committee for the IAU held its most recent annual meeting on January 9, 2018 during the AAS meeting in National Harbor, Maryland. Major topics discussed were the reviews of U.S. applicants for IAU membership, the IAU's efforts to create a searchable database of members, the IAU's new PhD Prize, and the USNC's sponsorship of specific events at the 2018 General Assembly.

Debra Elmegreen briefed the USNC about the IAU's draft strategic plan, and the committee offered comments. An outline of the proposed plan can be found at https://www.iau.org/static/education/strategicplan_summary_2020-2030.pdf. The plan will be discussed and finalized at the 2018 General Assembly.

The USNC formed an eight-person subcommittee to undertake the initial review of U.S.-based applicants, and agreed to a detailed timetable. The application review subcommittee held a conference call on February 23, and the USNC/IAU then reconvened by conference call on March 2 to review and confirm the subcommittee's recommendations. The U.S. decisions were subsequently conveyed to the IAU by its March 15 deadline. Final decisions will be made at the 2018 IAU General Assembly.

The next USNC/IAU meeting will be held in January 2019 in conjunction with the AAS winter meet in Seattle, WA.

 
IAU's Office of Astronomy for Development Awards Funding to 16 Projects in 2018
In 2017, the Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) of the IAU issued a call for proposals. The OAD received 114 applications during the stage 1 cycle, and selected 40 of these to advance to stage 2. After an extensive reviewing process, sixteen projects were chosen to receive funding. Each project focuses on one of the following three areas: Astronomy for Universities and Research, Astronomy for Schools and Children, and Astronomy for the Public. The funding granted to these combined projects totals over $157,000.

A complete list of the sixteen projects and their overviews can be found here: https://www.iau.org/news/announcements/detail/ann18003/.

Thanks to U.S. Astronomers in IAU Leadership Roles
The USNC for IAU would like to extend its thanks to the following U.S. scientists who are serving in IAU leadership roles during the 2014-2017 triennium:

Debra Elmegreen, Vice President, IAU
Chryssa Kouveliotou, President, Division D (High Energy Phenomena and Fundamental Physics)
Nader Haghighipour, President, Division F (Planetary Systems and Bioastronomy)
Bruce Elmegreen, President (Interstellar Matter and Local Universe)
Lee Anne Wilson, Member, IAU Finance Committee
David Soderblom, Member, IAU Membership Committee 
 

 
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Kathie Bailey, Director, BISO
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number PHY-1441995. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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