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Policy and Global Affairs
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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.


Apply to Win the IAU PhD Prize
Applications are being accepted for the IAU PhD Prize in astrophysics. Eligible PhD theses for the 2019 Prize are those that have been/will be defended between December 16, 2018 and December 15, 2019. Details and the application form can be found at

Regular IAU Memberships Next Accepted in 2020

The IAU application for regular membership opens once every three years in the year before the General Assembly is held. Regular IAU members should be at least three years past a PhD in astronomy or related field, or have related experience and will be working in a career related to astronomy. The application window for full membership will open again in fall 2020.

Other News from the IAU General Assembly
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) held its XXX General Assembly in Vienna, Austria on August 20--31, 2018. The USNC/IAU hosted a U.S. reception and co-sponsored two Young Astronomer lunches and the Women in Astronomy lunch. Debra Elmegreen (Vassar College), a member of the USNC/IAU, was elected IAU President-Elect, and a new strategic plan was approved.

The IAU is one of the few international scientific unions with both national members and individual members, and the 1,314 new IAU members approved included 211 astronomers from the United States. Of the 352 new junior members approved, 28 were from the United States. The USNC/IAU was heavily involved in the creation of the new junior member membership category. The IAU also approved a new category of Honorary Members. The USNC/IAU nominated Wayne Rosing because of his long-term and sustained efforts to establish, build, and operate Las Cumbres Observatory as a unique resource for astrophysics. Dr. Rosing's nomination was approved. The U.S. delegation's full report can be read here (PDF).
Thanks to U.S. Astronomers in IAU Leadership Roles, 2015-2018
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 2015-2018 triennium:

Debra Elmegreen, Vice President, IAU(Chelsea, I’ll send you some photos for this article.)
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)
David Soderblom, Member, IAU Membership Committee 

U.S. National Committee Meetings
The next USNC/IAU meeting will be held in January 2019 in conjunction with the AAS winter meeting in Seattle, WA. Watch this space for further information.
The 2018 meeting was held on January 9 during the AAS meeting in National Harbor, Maryland. 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. The USNC also 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, 2018, and the USNC/IAU then reconvened by conference call on March 2 to review and confirm the subcommittee's recommendations. The U.S. decisions subsequently were conveyed to the IAU, and new members were approved at the General Assembly. 


Membership of the USNC
Photo Gallery
American Astronomical Society
NRC Board on Physics and Astronomy
Astronomical Society of the Pacific

IAU International Webpage
Contact the USNC/IAU

Kathie Bailey, Director, BISO
Pam Gamble, Administrative Assistant

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1708170. 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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