Issue 20-21, May 16, 2020
- IN MEMORIAM: MARGARET BURBIDGE (1919-2020)
- LEAG/SSERVI VIRTUAL MEETING FOR COMMUNITY INPUT TO THE DECADAL SURVEY
- PREVENTING HARASSMENT IN SCIENCE WORKSHOP – RESCHEDULED AND GOING VIRTUAL
- NASEM VIDEO POSTED: WRITING WHITE PAPERS FOR THE DECADAL SURVEY ON PLANETARY SCIENCE AND ASTROBIOLOGY
- JOBS, POSITIONS, OPPORTUNITIES
IN MEMORIAM: MARGARET BURBIDGE (1919-2020)
The British-American astronomer Margaret Burbidge passed away on 5 April 2020
at the age of 100. She was the principal author of a watershed scientific paper in 1957
that set out the evidence for chemical elements having been formed inside stars. The
100-page paper was titled “Synthesis of the Elements in Stars” and was published in
Reviews of Modern Physics. Burbidge was the first author, together with her collaborators,
her husband, Geoffrey Burbidge, William A. Fowler and Fred Hoyle; the paper became
known as B2FH, from the first letters of its authors’ surnames.
Born in Stockport, Greater Manchester, she studied astronomy, physics and mathematics
at University College London and graduated with first class honors in 1939 just as WWII
was looming. She worked at the University of London’s Mill Hill observatory, where her
observing logs indicated that she sometimes had to realign the telescope because of nearby
explosions from German V1 flying bombs.
She earned a PhD from University College London in 1943, and as WWII was ending,
she applied for a postdoctoral fellowship at the Mount Wilson observatory in Los Angeles.
Drawn by the sheer size of the telescopes being built in the US, she was turned down
because she was a woman and would have had to spend nights at the observatory with
married men. Writing in 1994, she recalled that this rejection opened her eyes to gender-
based discrimination, “A guiding operational principle in my life was activated: If
frustrated in one’s endeavor by a stone wall or any kind of blockage, one must find a
way around it — another route towards one’s goal. This is advice I have given to many
women facing similar situations.”
Remaining in Britain, she met Geoffrey Burbidge, a theoretical physicist at UCL, in
late 1947, and six months later they were married. Her enthusiasm for the universe
persuaded him to turn his talents to astrophysics too. She finally made it to the US in
1951 with a position at the University of Chicago’s Yerkes observatory in Wisconsin.
Although she would occasionally return to the UK over the coming decades, she made
the US her home and became a US citizen in 1977.
In 1962 the Burbidges became professors at the UC San Diego, and a decade later she
returned to the UK to become director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Until then
the post had carried with it the title of Astronomer Royal. However, she was not conferred
this honor, breaking more than 300 years of tradition, something she would sometimes
put down to politics and sometimes to sexism.
In the same year she took a stand against the AAS by refusing to accept its Annie Jump
Cannon award, given for distinguished contributions to astronomy by women. Her reason
was that it was only awarded to female astronomers, and in her letter to the committee she
explained that “it is high time that discrimination in favor of, as well as against, women in
professional life be removed”.
In response, the AAS convened a working group to investigate the status of women in
astronomy. In 1974 she returned to the US, and two years later was elected the first female
president of the AAS. In the subsequent decades she worked across many areas of
astrophysics, and helped to develop the Faint Object Spectrograph, one of the original
instruments on HST.
She retired in 1988, and subsequently became professor emeritus. In 2005 she and
her husband were jointly awarded the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Geoffrey died in 2010. Margaret is survived by their daughter, Sarah, and a grandson,
Adapted from the full obituary at:
LEAG/SSERVI VIRTUAL MEETING FOR COMMUNITY INPUT TO THE DECADAL SURVEY
The lunar community needs YOU!
The Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) and Solar System Exploration
Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) will host a virtual meeting for critical community
input regarding the Decadal Survey on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.
The goals of the meeting are to:
(1) Facilitate collaboration and discussion on Decadal Survey white paper concepts
and strategies for lunar science;
(2) Solidify commitments on white paper topics and solicit coauthors and signatories; and
(3) Identify gaps and needs.
Meeting details are included below. A preliminary agenda can be found in the Google
Doc (see “More Information” below), and connection information will be posted there soon.
What: LEAG/SSERVI Virtual Meeting-Community Input for Decadal Survey
Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Time: 12:00 – 4:30 pm Eastern (9:00 am – 1:30 pm Pacific)
PREVENTING HARASSMENT IN SCIENCE WORKSHOP – RESCHEDULED AND GOING VIRTUAL
We are happy to announce the Preventing Harassment in Science: Building a Community
of Practice Toward Meaningful Change workshop has been rescheduled as a virtual event
on June 24–25, 2020.
The goal of this workshop is to bring leaders of anti-harassment efforts together to share
ideas and discuss best practice methods to reduce harassment in the scientific workplace.
An expected outcome of this workshop is to create a community of practice to continue
future anti-harassment efforts.
The updated agenda will be available in the next few weeks, but to see the type of content
expected at this event the original agenda can be viewed at the workshop website:
Registration is required to access the virtual meeting, and registration is free.
We hope you join us!
NASEM VIDEO POSTED: WRITING WHITE PAPERS FOR THE DECADAL SURVEY ON PLANETARY SCIENCE AND ASTROBIOLOGY
The video from the 7 May webinar on Writing White Papers for the Decadal Survey
on Planetary Science and Astrobiology is now available with a white paper FAQ at:
Learn more about the decadal survey, sign up for the mailing list, and submit white
papers on the study website at http://nas.edu/planetarydecadal. Stay tuned, as more
webinars like this one are planned for future dates.
JOBS, POSITIONS, OPPORTUNITIES
A) USGS ASTROGEOLOGY CARTOGRAPHIC TECHNICIAN (TERM GS-07/08, FPL GS-09)
The USGS Astrogeology in Flagstaff AZ is hiring a Cartographic Technician at the
GS-07/08 level (Term position renewable up to 4 years). Duties include using planetary
data sets to assist in the generation of high-fidelity foundational spatial data products
(e.g., photogrammetrically controlled image mosaics, digital elevation models) to support
the planetary science community. A bachelor’s degree or higher is required. Experience
generating cartographic products using the USGS’ ISIS software, Ames Stereo Pipeline,
and/or SOCET SET/GXP workstations, and familiarity with scripting languages such as
bash or python is preferred.
Apply through USAJOBS at https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/567869800.
Position open 5/18/2020 to 6/1/2020 and is limited to the first 65 applicants. Applicants
must be a U.S. Citizen. Send inquires to Michael Bland ([email protected]).
B) POSTDOCTORAL POSITION OPENING TO STUDY VENUS UPPER ATMOSPHERE WITH IPSL VENUS GCM
The LMD Planetary Science team (Paris, France) is happy to announce an open
postdoctoral position, starting in autumn 2020, for two years. This position is opened
in the context of the development of the Venus Climate Database funded by ESA, a
new reference model for the atmosphere of Venus, based on the simulations done with
the IPSL Venus GCM. These simulations will cover the altitude range from surface to
exobase, near 250 km.
The studies proposed for this postdoctoral position will focus on the upper atmosphere
of Venus, from the cloud-top to the thermosphere. Among the topics, the successful
applicant will use available observations to validate the simulations in this region, work
on the interpretation of these observations, and investigate the physical processes controlling
dynamics from the upper mesosphere to the exobase. Comparison studies with other
thermospheric GCMs could be proposed, to assess the robustness of these investigations.
Knowledge in planetary science and expertise in atmospheric dynamical modeling will
be appreciated. Work will be conducted at the Laboratoire de Meteorologie Dynamique
premises on the Pierre & Marie Curie campus of Sorbonne Universite, Paris, France.
More details available at https://www.lmd.jussieu.fr/~sllmd/VCD/postdoc_LMD.pdf
Interested applicants should contact Sebastien Lebonnois:
C) POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER, SCIENCE (VISITING) (RADIATIVE TRANSFER MODELING IN PLANETARY ATMOSPHERES)
The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), run by the Universities Space Research
Association (USRA), invites applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow in Radiative
Transfer Modeling in Planetary Atmospheres.
The successful candidate will join Dr. Germán Martínez on the Mars Environmental
Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) science team of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, and will
participate in analysis and interpretation of measurements made by the Thermal Infrared
Sensor (TIRS), one of the six environmental sensors comprising MEDA. TIRS is the
first in situ Martian infrared radiometer including upward- and downward-looking
channels, and it will measure the upward and downward thermal infrared radiation at
the surface, the reflected solar radiation at the surface, the surface brightness temperature,
and the near-surface vertical temperature profile. The successful candidate may also
participate in operations planning for the MEDA instrument. READ MORE
D) POSTDOCTORAL OR GUEST SCIENTIST POSITIONS IN SPACE PHYSICS
Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) invited applications for
positions in the field of space plasma physics. The topics of the
– Investigation of electron dynamics in a cometary ionosphere. The work
involves analysis of Rosetta data at comet 67P.
– Particle energization by collisionless shocks at electron scales. The
work involves analysis of data from Magnetospheric Multiscale mission
at the Earth’s bow shock.
Our team performs observations, data analysis and modelling of space
plasma processes. The team has decades of experience in developing and
operating instruments to measure electric fields, plasma temperature,
density and density fluctuations for spacecraft missions.
The positions are available at IRF’s Uppsala office (Angstrom Laboratory).
Funded by grants from the Swedish National Space Agency for 2 years.
Applications: [email protected]
Reference number: 2.2.1-137/20
Closing date: 31 May 2020
Send submissions to:
Anne Verbiscer, DPS Secretary ([email protected])
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