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Three faculty appointed to Astro2020 survey

Three Cornell astronomers have been appointed to panel membership for the Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics, a partnership between the National Academies and the astronomical community to identify key priorities in astronomy and astrophysics.

Nikole Lewis, assistant professor and deputy director of the Carl Sagan Institute; Gordon Stacey, Ph.D. ’85, professor of astronomy; and Martha Haynes, the Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy, will participate in the survey, known as Astro2020.

Sponsored by NASA, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy, the survey originated in 1964 and runs approximately every 10 years. It aims to provide the federal agencies with input for its strategic planning and budgeting. The information gathered by Astro 2020 will help agencies develop a comprehensive strategy for 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, the 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 help identify and suggest the direction of the survey and its ultimate recommendations. 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’s panel will consider research activities involving observations at radio, far-infrared and high-energy wavelengths in space. Both of these panels will help set future directions in the use of electromagnetic technology.

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

Catherine Gorey is a communications assistant in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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Jeff Tyson