From Astronomy to Policy - A Not Entirely Unexpected Journey

From Astronomy to Policy - A Not Entirely Unexpected Journey

From Astronomy to Policy - A Not Entirely Unexpected Journey

Reba Bandyopadhyay

May 10, 2016


Reba Bandyopadhyay, a AAAS science and technology policy fellow at the National Science Foundation, led a workshop titled "From Astronomy to Policy - A Not Entirely Unexpected Journey" on Tuesday, 10 May 2016, in the Abelson Building Collaboration Center as part of DTM's Postdoctoral Development Workshop Series.

Bandyopadhyay received her Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Oxford in 1998. She's an astronomer whose primary research interest is infrared and X-ray observations of X-ray binary stars - systems containing a black hole or a neutron star - in our Galaxy. 

This workshop focused on her path from academia to government. She answered the question of what does an astronomer do in the United States Senate, and how other scientists can "help make sure that others can continued to study black holes for a living."

Key takeaways from the talk included: 

  • Policy is story telling 
  • Scientists can aid science policy through their personal experiences in challenges associated with science academia
  • Policy is like science in its incremental progress
  • There are few eureka moments, but changes are made in policy through more refined ways, like language, measurements, etc.
  • Be heard and get involved in science policy
  • Translate science for policy makers by keeping it simple, staying in touch, and creating direct connections between what money is needed and how it will translate to the betterment of the country

In attendance: 

DTM: Serge Dieterich, Jessica Donaldson, Jackie Faherty, Miki Nakajima, Erika Nesvold, Jesse Reimink, My Riebe, Myriam Telus, Christopher Thissen

GL: Michael Ackerson, Abhisek Basu, Charlene Estrada, Daniel Hummer, Ajay Kumar Mishra, Andrew Needham, Hiroyuki Takenaka

Other: Emma Bullock, Rick Carlson, Robin Dienel, Janice Dunlap, Shaun Hardy, Casey Leffue, Margaret Moerchen, Aline Niyonkuru, Anat Shahar, Steve Shirey, Alycia Weinberger