Faculty appointed to Astro2020 survey

Three Cornell astronomers have been appointed to panel membership for the Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics, Astro2020: Nikole Lewis assistant professor and deputy director of the Carl Sagan Institute, Professor Gordon Stacey and Professor Martha Haynes.

The survey originated in 1964 and a new one has run approximately every 10 years. This project between the National Academies and the astronomical community aims to provide the agencies with advice on the national astronomy and astrophysics program as input to agency strategic planning and budgeting. The information gathered by Astro 2020 will allow agencies to identify key priorities in astronomy and astrophysics and develop a comprehensive strategy for agency investments in the upcoming decade. 

“The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey is the most important strategic planning process for determining how the U.S. will conduct future large-scale scientific study of the cosmos,” said Jonathan I. Lunine, David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences and chair of the astronomy department. “I am pleased to see that, as in the past, Cornell astronomers are playing key roles in this effort.” 

Panel members serve a crucial role in identifying and suggesting the direction of the survey and its ultimate implications. Lewis is on a panel that will consider planning for the science program and requirements related to electromagnetic observations from space, primarily at optical and near-infrared wavelengths. Stacey will join a panel considering research activities that involve observations at radio, far-infrared and high-energy wavelengths in space. These two panels complement one another in establishing future directions in the use of electromagnetic technology. 

The panel on the State of the Profession and Societal Impacts, which includes Haynes, will provide critical inputs on the health and demographics of the field and make recommendations on diversity and inclusion, workplace climate, workforce development, education, public outreach and public policy efforts.

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photo from space