Coffee/tea and cookies will be served in the coffee lounge of 52HLH starting at 2 PM. Bring your own mug if you have!
Astronomy and Physics may seem to be disciplines far removed from federal policy and legislation, both in style and in substance. Yet, of course, we are actually highly dependent upon federal policies and budgets - much of the funding for our research comes directly from the government, via grants from agencies such as NSF, NASA, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense. The importance of conducting scientific research, and in particular basic research, is clear to us as scientists, so sometimes we assume that support for science will always exist in the public and in our government. But to the contrary, this philosophical and financial support - which allows us to pursue topics that often do not have an immediate practical benefit to the majority of citizens - is not at all something we should take for granted. Science does not speak for itself - we, as scientists, must speak for it. In this talk I will discuss some of my experiences with how science, evidence, and data can impact federal policies, how having a scientific background can help when developing and influencing policy and legislation, and how scientists at all career stages can be effective advocates for science. And I’ll answer the question - what does an astronomer do in the United States Senate, anyway?