And on a personal note at IAU

And on a personal note at IAU

A few random comments: We just had a brief potential moment of food and drink. People from countries derived from the UK politely attempted to line up (queue), while others, um, did not. A few lucky people got food (including cake!), wine or beer, and even juice or soda by the can. They other 1300 people looked sad. This has been a regular occurrence, with the food and beverages providing only being sufficient for a few hundred (or far far fewer!) people. This is a serious problem that I have thwarted only by being a member of the press. The press room has a constant supply of bottled water. Anyway – On a more positive note, can I just say it is a blast seeing almost everyone in T-shirts and casual cloths? Kevin Marvel, Pres of the AAS, is in a Hawaiian...

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IAU Opening Ceremony

IAU Opening Ceremony

Please don’t ask me why the opening ceremony is halfway through the second day. I do not know. What I do know is the background of the Opening Ceremony is an image of the minor planets Eris, Pluto (+Charon), Makemake, and Haumea. Anyway, today is the opening ceremony. For the first time, we seem to be running on what I’ve heard referred to as “Brazil Time.” Slatted to begin at 2pm, the event finally started at 2:40pm. All of us are crammed into one large auditorium, with members of the media, press officers, and security guards swarming around the edges of the room with cameras and notebooks, radio-headsets, and video cameras. It is a mass of swarming black suites, and at the front of it all is Catherine Cesarsky speaking calmly behind a...

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IYA@IAU: World Reports

(Can’t find internet access that will allow me to upload photos – they will come) As an IYA organizer, one of my greatest delights has been randomly finding IYA logos in random places. My first moment of glee was at the National Maritime Museum in London where their gates were govered in IYA logos, and then I had a thrill to find IYA in Japan at a Solar Eclipse festival. Here in the US, my sightings (outside of events I was part of), have been few and far between. Okay, here in the US, my sightings have actually been non-existent, but then I don’t get out much. Nonetheless, IYA has a cool logo and seeing all the places that people have grown giant programs bearing the logo has been really inspiring. In Mexico City, one well publicized public...

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IAU First Impressions

Let the chaos begin! I’m currently at the XXVII General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Rio de Janeiro. For the next two weeks, astronomers from all around the globe will converge on the SulAmerica Convention Center. I’m here to represent the USA in Special Session 2: The International Year of Astronomy. I have 12 minutes this afternoon to communicate all the IYA events in the USA, ranging from NASA events to Independent events to movie events, to everything else, including all of new media. In 12 minutes. I feel like I’m preparing as 12 course sampling menu, where no one item is enough to sate you, but taken together you feel a bit plump. I arrived mid-day yesterday, and I have to admit that I’m still trying to process...

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