IAU Division C

Education, Outreach and Heritage

Statements from Candidates for Election to Division Steering Committee


Juan Belmonte Tenerife, SPAIN

Juan Antonio Belmonte is an astronomer at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Tenerife, Spain) where he has lectured history of astronomy and archaeoastronomy and investigates in exoplanets, stellar physics and cultural astronomy. He has published or edited a dozen books and authored nearly 200 publications on those subjects. He has been the Director of the Science and Cosmos Museum of Tenerife from 1995 to 2000, President of the European Society for Astronomy in Culture (SEAC) from 2005 to 2011 and of the Spanish Time Allocation Committee (CAT) of the Canarian observatories, included the new generation 10 m GTC, from 2003 to 2012. He has received in 2012 the "Carlos Jaschek" award of the European Society for Astronomy in Culture for his contribitions to the dicipline. He is now adivisory editor of the Journal for the History of Astronomy and co-editor of Archaeoastronomy: the Journal for Astronmomy in Culture. In the last years he has been performing extensive research on the astronomical traditions of ancient civilizations, concentrating in the ancient Mediterranean cultures, notably in Egypt. Born in Murcia (Spain) in 1962, he studied physics and got his master-thesis in 1986 at Barcelona University and obtained his PhD on Astrophysics at La Laguna University in 1989.

Ray Norris Epping, AUSTRALIA

Ray Norris is an astrophysicist with CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science in Australia, and adjunct Professor in the Dept. of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University. His main research interest is the evolution of galaxies over cosmic time, and he leads the EMU (Evolutionary Map of the Universe) project which is one of the two key projects which are primarily driving the construction of the $160m ASKAP (Australian SKA Pathfinder) telescope. He also researches the astronomy of Aboriginal Australians, and has led the development of that research area in Australia as a serious academic sub-discipline. He has published about 200 refereed papers on astrophysics, and about 10 on Aboriginal astronomy. He is also very active in outreach, with over 200 radio and TV appearances, and co-starred with Aboriginal elder Bill Harney in "The First Astronomers" stage show, which has toured several Australian festivals. He has also been Head of Astrophysics and Deputy Director of the CSIRO Australia Telescope National facility, and Director of the Australian Astronomy Major National Research Facility. He has been President of IAU Commission 5, and was Vice-President of IAU Division XII before it was wound up in the IAU Divisional restructuring last year. He has also driven and co-chaired Special Sessions at the IAU GA on "Astronomical Data Management" and Accelerating The Rate Of Astronomical Discovery". He sees the IAU restructuring as an opportunity to increase the relevance of the IAU both to mainstream astronomy and to its interaction with the broader community.

Sara Schechner Cambridge, MA, USA

Sara J. Schechner, Ph.D., is the David P. Wheatland Curator of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. She is a longtime member of Commission 41 (History of Astronomy) and focuses on astronomical heritage, history, and preservation in various leadership positions within the American Astronomical Society and the International Union for the History and Philosophy of Science.

Mitsuru Soma Toyko, JAPAN

I am an assistant professor of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) in Tokyo, Japan. My main interest is in analyzing solar and lunar eclipses and lunar occultations to derive some parameter values for linkage of dynamical and stellar reference frames and Earth rotation, and solar radius. Timings of solar eclipses and lunar occultations are affected by lunar limb profiles. Now that global accurate and precise topographic maps of the Moon were constructed from the data obtained by the LALT laser altimeter on board the Japanese lunar explorer Kaguya and by Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) on board NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), lunar limb profiles can be precisely known, and I am using such profiles to analyze eclipses and occultations. For history of astronomy I have been searching ancient records of eclipses and occultations with my colleagues in NAOJ and determining the values of the Earth rotation parameter (Delta-T) in ancient times from such records.


Beatriz Garcia Mendoza, ARGENTINA

I work in professional Astronomy since 1982. My original field of research is the Stellar Forming Regions, and during the last decade, I am a member of the International Collaboration, which installed the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, devoted to the study of Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays. As part of this group, I was one of responsible of the Education and Outreach activities in the Observatory; our work produced a big impact in the community: one of the consequences was the installation of the first digital Planetarium in Argentina. Now I am in charge of the Argentinean Outreach activities in the Cherenkov Telescope Array Project.
My work on education started before I got my degree in Astronomy, and consolidated during the visit of the Halley comet, in 1986, when a Commission in La Plata Observatory organized more than a 1000 public conferences an guided visits to know more not only about the Halley, but also about the beauties of the Universe. But, probably the most amazing experience was the IYA 2009, when we demonstrate the power of the Astronomy to teach about Sciences in general. Currently, I am a Professor at the University, but also a teacher of Sciences at the High School.
As a member of IAU, one of my main concerns always was the Commission 46 where, invited by Dr. Rosa Ros, I collaborate with NASE project since its beginnings, producing new material and giving Workshops and Conferences in several countries in America and recently in Beijing, China.
I believe that the opportunity we have at the moment, with the creation of the OAD and the proposal of an integrated and almost interdisciplinary IAU Division is unique. I am convinced that we need to work together. We not only are living a moment of change, we are the main characters in it, the makers of a new way to understand Education in all levels as a transformative force of humanity and Astronomy as the vehicle to reach this transformation.


Position: Associated Researcher at the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris (IAP), France. Retired faculty member from the Universite de Paris-Sud, Orsay, France.
Research domain: Atmospheric properties and evolutionary status of peculiar early type stars (Ap, Am, Lambda Boo stars, etc.)
*University involvement: Besides the normal duties of a Professor at the university, I have created with colleagues specific teachings:

*Responsibilities at the International Astronomical Union (IAU) related with the Commission 46: Vice-Chairperson of the International School for Young Astronomers ISYA (1992-1997)
Chairperson of the International School for Young Astronomers ISYA (1997-2007)
*Presently I am involved with the activities of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) Task Force 1: Universities and Research, taking part in the development of one of the programme selected for the year 2013. My participation as a lecturer to the TAD and ISYA programmes is still going on with enthusiasm. For the coming term (2013-2015) of the Commission 46 activities, I would like to support and to participate to the enhancement of the methods of astronomy teaching at the university level as well as to the development of new curricula in astronomy, these developments being incorporated into the Division C missions.

Ed Guinan Villanova, PA, USA

I have been an active member of the IAU for over 30 years and member C46 for over 15 years. I have served as President of IAU/C42 (Interacting Binary Stars) and the President of Division V (Variable and Binary Stars). I have strong interests in Astronomy Education and Public Outreach programs. As a member of C46, I served as the Vice-Chair of the International School for Astronomers (ISYA) from 1998-2006. From 2006-2012, I served as the Chair of the IAU Teaching Astronomy for Development (TAD) program and helped organize over 25 Astronomy workshops and schools as well as coordinating and initiating Astronomy lab and equipment grants in many developing countries. Since 2009 I have been the Chair of the US National Committee that helped support and fund the Women in Astronomy Lunch and Young Astronomers Luncheon Debates at the 2009 and 2012 IAU General Assemblies. I am also very active in the American Astronomical Society(AAS) and currently I am a member of the AAS Council and Sustainability and Membership Committees and was the past Chair of the AAS Employment and Careers Committee. Currently I am the Chair of the IAU/OAD Task Force for Astronomy University Education and Research in Developing Countries. If elected to serve on the Division C Steering Committee (DCS), I will vigorously support, promote the important activities of our division that include Astronomy Education, Public Outreach, Communicating Astronomy with the Public, Astronomy related cultural activities, the preservation of our historical heritage and culture as well as pro-actively supporting strong measures to protect our skies for Astronomy for us and future generations. I strongly believe in "Astronomy for a Better World" and will work hard to achieve these goals.

Robert Hollow Epping, AUSTRALIA

Robert Hollow is the Education Specialist at CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science in Sydney, Australia. The role covers a diverse range of astronomy education and outreach activities including provision of teacher training, programs targeting school students and the public.
He runs teacher professional developments across Australia for both High School and Primary teachers and is passionate about supporting classroom teachers and helping them engage their students. Some of these workshops fulfill the requirements of the Galileo Teacher Training Program for which he is national coordinator. With a background in high school teaching he also has extensive experience in science curriculum writing and delivery.
Robert is the Coordinator and Education Lead for the PULSE@Parkes project in which high school students across Australia use the 64m Parkes radio telescope in real time remotely to observe pulsars and analyse data. This project reflects his interest in providing authentic science experiences with real data for open-ended student investigations to diverse audiences. It uses social media and online tools to reach an international audience and encourages the public to follow sessions and interact with astronomers.
Other areas of focus include working with Indigenous students and communities in the Murchison region of Western Australia near the future home of part of the SKA. He is also a keen proponent of citizen science projects and is currently working with a team developing a project utilising radio astronomy data.
An active contributor to professional bodies, Robert is currently on the committee for the Education and Public Outreach Chapter of the Astronomical Society of Australia and serving on Task Force 2; Astronomy for Children and Schools for the IAU's Office of Astronomy for Development. He has presented at numerous conferences across Australia and internationally.


Kimberly Arcand Cambridge, MA, USA

Kimberly Arcand is the director of communications for NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, which has its headquarters at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She studies the perception and comprehension of science images across the novice-expert spectrum and is active in the creation, distribution, and evaluation of large-scale science exhibitions in public spaces such as parks, libraries, malls and metros. Most recently, she has co-authored a non-fiction book Your Ticket to the Universe: A Guide to Exploring the Cosmos for Smithsonian Books that is aimed at attracting more novice science readers, particularly women. After her successful and rewarding experiences with the International Year of Astronomy 2009, Ms. Arcand has concentrated on projects and policies that can benefit international audiences with a particular focus on underserved groups such as the visually impaired.

Rick Fienberg Watertown, MA, USA

I'm Rick Fienberg, a full IAU member from the USA since the late 1980s. Education: B.A. physics 1978, Rice Univ.; M.A. astronomy 1980, Harvard Univ.; Ph.D. astronomy 1985, Harvard Univ. I spent 22 years at Sky & Telescope magazine, including 9 as president/publisher and 8 as editor in chief. After S&T I taught high-school astronomy at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, for 1 year, and since 2009 I've served as press officer and education & outreach coordinator for the American Astronomical Society. In addition to my popular writing/editing, I led the Galileoscope Cornerstone Project for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 and contributed to several other IYA2009 initiatives. For more than 20 years I've served as an astronomical tour guide on eclipse tours and other astronomical expeditions, which has enabled me to travel worldwide and gain a deep appreciation of humankind's diverse astronomical and cultural heritage. I've been a member of C46 since I joined the IAU and an active member of C55 since its inception; I've attended all but one Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP) meeting and helped establish CAP Journal. I've spent my entire career in astronomy doing and promoting the things that are now the central concerns of IAU Division C, and it will be my privilege to continue working in C46 and C55 and my honor to serve on the Division Steering Committee.

Kaz Sekiguchi Tokyo, JAPAN

I'm involved in NAOJ's program "You are Galileo!", which is an astronomy education program for secondary to tertiary level. With a help from the UNESCO Japan Committee, we have been conducting the workshops in the Asia-Pacific region (Indonesia:2010, Mongolia:2011 & Thailand:2012). Also, I'm working with our colleagues at NAOC (China), KASI (Korea) and ASIAA (Taiwan) organizing the astronomy lecture courses at university level within the East-Asia region. I would like to work with the IAU OAD East-Asia regional node on various programs. Furthermore, the NAOJ is hosting the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach (IAU-OAO). Sarah Reed, the IAU Outreach Coordinator, is under my supervision.

Pete Wheeler Perth, AUSTRALIA

I am a Science Communicator and currently the Manager of Outreach and Education for the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Perth, Western Australia. As such I am responsible for our public engagement programs (including regional and remote tours), our online presence (including Facebook, Twitter and a distributed computing project called the SkyNet), media engagement and the production of any materials produced to communicate the work of ICRAR to the outside world. After emigrating from the UK in 2002 I began working for Scitech, Western Australia's science centre, as a presenter, an educational resource developer and eventually a planetarium manager. With the approach of the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope project I found myself in the "right" place at the right time and began working with ICRAR before it was launched in late 2009. My ten years of outreach and science communication experience is backed up by a Bachelors Degree in Physics and a Graduate Diploma in Education. I enjoy developing innovative projects on a state, national and international level which engage people of all ages, improve scientific literacy and connect scientists to the community.

Last update: 28 January 2013