IAU XXXVII General Assembly, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
August 3-14, 2009
The IAU XXVII General Assembly (GA) was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 3-14 August, 2009. More than 2,100 people from 45-plus countries, including more than 350 astronomers from the United States, attended the GA. Nearly one hundred of the U.S. astronomers were supported by American Astronomical Society (AAS)/NSF Travel Grants.
This GA coincided with the celebration of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) and the 400th anniversary of the first astronomical observation using a telescope by Galileo Galilei. The GA also celebrated the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the IAU.
An exciting and varied scientific program was offered. Six Symposia and 26 Joint Discussions and Special Sessions covering a wide variety of topics in contemporary astrophysics were held. There were also three Invited Discourses, supplemented by a special presentation on Galileo and by lectures by recipients of the Gruber cosmology prize.
The U.S. National Committee for IAU was both active and visible at the IAU GA, sponosoring several very successful, well attended events. These events included the third Women in Astronomy Luncheon, a Young Astronomers workshop luncheon, and a U.S. reception. See more details of these activities.
Applications for IAU Membership
The USNC/IAU invites qualified scientists to apply for individual membership in the IAU. This is done in the year before the IAU General Assembly, so the next application cycle will open in late 2014. Applications are reviewed by a subcommittee of the USNC, approved by the full committee, and then forwarded to the IAU Executive Office in Paris for official action. Voting on membership recommendations takes place by the IAU General Assembly.
When is the Next Application Cycle?
The application cycle for IAU membership opens approximately 9 months before the IAU General Assembly. Check back on our website for additional information in late 2014.
Who is Eligible to Apply?
Membership in IAU is open to individuals as well as countries. New members are encouraged to contribute to the work of IAU Divisions and Commissions. The procedures for submission and approval of membership applications are described in Chapter II of the Working Rules. Consult general information on IAU Individual Membership on the IAU webpage.
International Travel Grants and Educational Activities
The American Astronomical Society (AAS) administers a travel grant program open to U.S.-based astronomers for attendance at international meetings. Endorsed by the USNC/IAU and funded by the National Science Foundation, the AAS grant program corresponds to IAU General Assembly years. To attend the IAU General Assemblies and other international conferences, individuals at U.S. institutions may apply to the AAS International Travel Grant Program. Learn more about the AAS International Travel Grant program, including submission deadlines.
Valuable educational programs are also reported by IAU Commission on Astronomy Education and Development (Commission 46). For researchers and students in countries with economic difficulties, travel grants to IAU-sponsored meetings and general assemblies are available. Grants for Exchange Astronomers, travel awards for short term visits, are administered by the IAU Commission 46. The IAU also conductsInternational Schools for Young Astronomers, a Visiting Lecturer Program, and Exchange of Astronomers Program.
International Year of Astronomy
The year 2009 marked the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s first use of a telescope to observe the universe. At the request of the IAU and its members, UNESCO passed a resolution proclaiming 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy, which recognizes the importance of Galileo’s achievements. The International Year of Astronomy presented the opportunity to increase awareness of the field and attract young people to careers in science and technology.
In celebration of the Year, the USNC/IAU worked with the National Research Council Board on Physics and Astronomy and the Space Studies Board to host the symposium Beyond the Decade: The Future of International Astronomy on October 9, 2009. The symposium explored various dimensions of international astronomy in celebration of the 2009 International Year of Astronomy. Three panels respectively discussed contributions of international astronomy focusing on program and activities in six countries and regions; three case studies of multi-national cooperation; and implications for the future from a perspective of four key disciplines.