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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Message-ID: <12a.4ddfa4f2.2e9dbca3@aol.com>
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2004 19:02:59 EDT
Subject: RIA Astronomy Committee

Hi all,

RIA Astronomy & Space Committee.  I'm sure that all of you will know of the 
Royal Irish Academy, the premier 'Learned Society' in Ireland, with HQ in 
Dawson Street, Dublin. It has just appointed a new "Astronmy & Space Committee" and 
I have had the honour of being appointed as the representative of the 
'amateur astronomy community' in Ireland. Details:

"The Royal Irish Academy Committee for Astronomy & Space Research

TERMS OF REFERENCE

The Committee for Astronomy & Space Research is set up to provide -
   A focused forum for discussion and action concentrated upon the 
advancement of astronomical science - research, education and public outreach - 
throughout the island of Ireland. 
   An all-Ireland perspective on, for example, the provision of National 
resources such as ESO membership, etc., and for the promotion of a Strategic Plan 
for Astronomy to Government.
   Adherence to the IAU for Ireland, promulgation of IAU resolutions, input 
to IAU deliberations
   A public focus on the excitement of modern astronomy through the 
all-Ireland McCrea Lectures and similar events.
   Input, and support, as a significant part of the wider physics community, 
to the RIA Physical Sciences and Geo-Sciences Committees.
   Working groups as needed, for example, to meet with government 
departments to promote ESO membership, develop and promote a Strategic Plan, oppose 
light pollution, organise the McCrea Lecture, and assist teaching at 1st and 2nd 
level, undergraduate and postgraduate level, etc.

Membership
Aspirations
Membership should represent the community of active astronomy teachers, 
researchers and enthusiasts throughout the island of Ireland. Insofar as possible, 
membership should represent a geographic, institutional and gender balance, 
representing all sections of the astronomy and space community.

Nominations
   Membership of the Committee for Astronomy & Space Research should be 
re-established every three years.
   The outgoing Committee - starting with the outgoing National Committee 
for Astronomy & Space Research - to name a Nominating Committee to work out the 
precise details of 1-8, below, and to bring forward names for Officers of the 
new Committee, for election at the first meeting. 
   A co-opted alternate shall replace members being unable to attend for one 
year.

Categories of Membership
1.  1 member representing the all-Ireland amateur community
2.  1 member from OST Irish ESA representative
3.  2 members from RIA
4.  1 member from Irish Science Teachers Association
5.  1 member representing the ASGI 
6.  Up to 9 members (selected to achieve aspirations, above, after categories 
1-5 have been selected), from academic or research institutes with interests 
in astronomy and space research anywhere in the island of Ireland.

Officers  -
Chair, Secretary & Deputy Secretary elected at the first meeting

The Academy will consider how liaison with the Physical Sciences and 
GeoSciences Committees will be achieved."

The other members are:
Professor Gerry Doyle, Armagh Observatory 
Dr. Aaron Golden, Computational Astrophysics Laboratory, National University 
of Ireland, Galway
Professor Evert Meurs, Director of the Dunsink Observatory
Dr. Denise Gabuzda, Physics Department of University College Cork
Professor Luke Drury, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies 
Dr. Don Pollacco, APS Division of Queens University Belfast
Professor Mark Bailey, Director of the Armagh Observatory
Professor Anthony Murphy, Department of Experimental Physics, National 
University of Ireland, Maynooth
Dr. Lorraine Hanlon, Department of Experimental Physics, University College 
Dublin
Professor Brian McBreen, Department of Experimental Physics, University 
College Dublin
Professor Mike Redfern, Physics Department, National University of Ireland, 
Galway

As you can see, there are some very influential & important people on the 
Committee, so their views & recommendations should carry considerable weight!

As 'Your' representative, I will obviously want to know your views about what 
you think are the important matters within the committee's remit.

I have already indicated that I would like to raise the following matters for 
discussion asap, time permitting: probably not all can be dealt with 
immediately:

1. The proposal to close Dunsink Observatory, even if it now seems not such 
an imminent threat.

2. 2005 is the centenary of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. I know 
that there are some high-level physics meetings on the relativity angle next 
year, but I'm suggesting that there be some public lectures too

3. A campaign on light pollution, which is already listed under the 'aims'. 

4. Completing the restoration of the great Birr Telescope to full working 
order to promote awareness of our great astronomical heritage, and as a usable 
telescope to bring the wonder & excitement of the heavens to the public (and for 
research by suitably experienced and qualified amateur astronomers?). 

5. Promotion of ARTI (A Radio Telescope for Ireland) at Birr.

6. Promoting better astronomy education throughout all our schools, not just 
as a science in its own right, but also for its relevance to the other 
sciences, the environment, and the past history and future prospects of the Earth - 
our home.

7. Promoting Ireland's participation in European & International research, 
particularly through ESO.

8. Encouraging & assisting co-operation & good relations among all 
astronomical bodies throughout Ireland. That was one of the objectives of IFAS, which I 
was largely instrumental in setting up. But it would benefit further from the 
backing of such a prestigious and influential body as the RIA. There already 
is good co-operation at the professional level through ASGI - although there is 
always room for further improvement! 

9. Campaigning for some sort of a 'Science Discovery Park', including a 
Planetarium, to be built in the greater Dublin area. 

10. (If it falls within the terms of reference) Addressing the problem of the 
crippling Public Liability Insurance premiums for Irish amateur astronomy 
groups, in spite of the fact that it is one of the lowest-risk activities it is 
possible to imagine! 

So, if you have any comments on these matters, or would like me to raise 
other matters, please let me know & I will do my best to represent your views. 
Please pass on the contents of this message to anyone else who might be 
interested just in case they are not on my email list.

The first meeting is on 26 October, so please let me have any comments no 
later than 24 October so that I can clarify any points with you as necessary.

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley

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