UH Astronomer Elected to Board of Directors of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific

University of Hawaiʻi
Shawn Nakamoto, (808) 956-9095
University & Community Relations
Kristen Cabral, (808) 956-5039
University & Community Relations
Posted: Oct 19, 2001

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), one of the world‘s oldest and largest astronomy organizations, recently announced the election of three new members to its Board of Directors, including University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa astronomer Karen J. Meech.

Meech is a planetary astronomer with UH Manoa‘s Institute for Astronomy (IfA). Her research interests include the study of distant comets and their relationship to the early solar system, and bioastronomy — the potential for life in space. She has been elected the vice president of the International Astronomical Union‘s Commission on Bioastronomy, and will become president in 2002. She is also a co-investigator on NASA‘s Deep Impact mission, which will shoot a 160-pound copper impactor into Comet P/Tempel 1 in 2005, and should be visible from Hawaiʻi at impact on July 4, 2005. Meech‘s primary role in the mission is to coordinate all of the ground and earth-orbital observing support for the mission.

Meech is also extremely active in the area of educational outreach. She is the director of the NSF-funded teacher-enhancement program known as TOPS, Toward Other Planetary Systems. The program hosts an annual summer workshop for local and Pacific affiliated science and math high school teachers and students. The program‘s goals are to initiate systemic reform in science education in Hawaiʻi by enabling science and math teachers to implement astronomy in the classrooms. The summer workshop is an intensive three-week session held in part on Oʻahu and in part on the Big Island at the Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy. For more information about TOPS or to obtain an application form, visit http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/tops.

"I am really excited to be participating on the ASP Board of Directors because of the opportunities it will give me to impact science education and outreach, and to work with other people actively involved in this area," said Meech.
ASP Board members vote on policy matters and help establish the overall direction of the Society. The Board members are nominated by a committee and then elected by the Society‘s members.

Joining Meech as newly elected members of the Board are comet hunter and author David H. Levy and former Sky & Telescope Editor-in-Chief Leif J. Robinson. Levy is a renowned author and editor of 29 books on astronomy, and he is also the science editor for Parade magazine, which is read by more than 70 million people. Robinson recently retired from Sky & Telescope magazine after working on the editorial staff for nearly 40 years, the last 20 as editor-in-chief.

"I look forward to working with the newly-elected members in making the ASP a stronger, more effective organization. Each of them brings special talents and expertise to our Board," says ASP President Alex Filippenko, an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley.

The non-profit Astronomical Society of the Pacific was founded in 1889 in San Francisco, and is still headquartered there today. The ASP has since grown into an international society. Its membership is spread over all 50 states and 70 countries and includes professional and amateur astronomers, science educators of all levels, and the general public. The ASP publishes the bimonthly Mercury magazine for its members. It publishes a technical journal for professional astronomers, and it coordinates Project ASTRO, a national astronomy education program. The Society also produces a catalog of extensive astronomy-related products for educators and the public.

To download printable photographs of the ASP‘s new Board members, visit http://www.astrosociety.org/about/newboard.html

For more information, visit: http://www.astrosociety.org/about/newboard.html