Thursday, January 15, 2009

IAU President’s Speech at the Opening ceremony of the IYA2009

IAU President’s Speech: Briefing from Cosmic Diary

Cathering Cesarsky President of the International Astronomical Union, has just taken to the stage.

Explaining that the Year marks 400 years of telescopic observations, she has gone onto say how the sense of discovery and awe will be shared to citizens of the world. Astronomy is, she says, a peace-promoting science.

IYA2009 aims to promote science careers, improving student take-up.

She is stressing that IYA2009 its a global celebration, and the theme is “The Universe, Yours to Discover”. It is for all the public. We would like everyone in the world to spend some time thinking about their place in the Universe, at some point during 2009.

Now Catherine is listing the main IYA2009 goals, including increasing scientific awareness, empowering astronomical communities, facilitating new networks, and so on.

The IYA2009 activities will take place between regional, national and global levels, so the IYA2009 Working Group and the IYA2009 Secretariat (yay!) to help in an organizational role.

Special thanks are given to organizations who have given financial support.

Currently there are 136 national nodes, all part of the largest ever astronomical network.

There will be many different forms of celebration, from sidewalk astronomy, special stamps, observing sessions, contests, and in Austria there is even an special IYA2009-themed train.

Now she is talking about the 11 Cornerstone Projects. Roll on Cosmic Diary!

100 Hours of Astronomy occurring in April. Practical

Galileoscope, “millions looking at the sky.” Cheap telescopes which can be used to observe key sites, such as the moons of Jupiter.


Portal to the Universe, a news aggregation site launching later in 2009.

Astronomy and World Heritage, part of a UNESCO project to identify sites and objects associated with astronomy that need support.

Universe Awareness, promoting astronomy to children.

She is an Astronomer, tackling gender bias issues.

Dark Skies Awareness, limiting light pollution and also “silent skies”, needed for radio astronomers.

Galileo Teacher Training Program, a global network coordinating teachers and bringing professional development.

From Earth To The Universe, an astronomical exhibition. This is definitely one to watch!

Developing Astronomy Globally, developing astronomy professionally, publicly and educationally, via universities, schools, TV, etc.

Those are the Cornerstones. Next Catherine is mentioning Special Projects, such as The World at Night (stunning photographs and time-lapse videos of the night sky); 400 Years of the Telescope, a multimedia celebration of Galileo’s telescopic journey; Galilean Satellites (public participation of Jupiter’s bright moons); Around the World, Around The Sky (a new story and treatment of the 1990 Arte series); Exo planet Hunters (a documentary); Celebrating the 1919 Eclipse at Principe; The Sky - Yours to Discover (inviting young people to create new constellations and stories); Blast! (astrophysics, Indiana Jones style).

It will be a considerable effort to put together! Therefore, IYA2009 should have a lasting legacy. There should be increased awareness in society that we are living in an unprecedented age of discovery. Networks established should remain. More opening for astronomy in developing countries. Better astronomy teaching. More educational material available. Advertising astronomy careers, particularly among women and minorities.

3 Earthling’s comments:

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Renegade Eye said...

That is internationalism and beyond.

Makes Gaza small.


noni said...


Renegade Eye@
i don't think so that makes GAZA small....

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