Headquartered in Paris, the IAU was founded in 1919. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. Its individual Members in 107 countries worldwide — structured into Divisions, Commissions, and Working Groups — are professional astronomers from all over the world, at the Ph.D. level and beyond, who are active in professional research and education in astronomy.
Long a full member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), Prof. Shuch felt that the IAU's emphasis on observational astronomy would allow him to continue making technical contributions to the art and science of radio astronomy in his retirement. Though remaining an IAA member, he has stepped down from his various leadership roles within the IAA SETI Permanent Committee, in order to afford himself more time to participate in IAU activities. Shuch also continues as Executive Director of the SETI League, on an Emeritus basis.
The key activity of the IAU is the organization of scientific meetings. Every year the IAU sponsors nine international IAU Symposia. The IAU Symposium Proceedings series is the flagship of the IAU publications. Every three years the IAU holds a General Assembly, which offers six IAU Symposia, some 15 Focus Meetings, and individual business and scientific meetings of Divisions, Commissions, and Working Groups. The proceedings of Focus meetings are published in the Astronomy in Focus series. The triennial reports of the Divisions and Commissions are published in the Transactions of the IAU - A series.The reports of the GA business meetings are published in the Transactions of the IAU - B series.
Among the other tasks of the IAU are the definition of fundamental astronomical and physical constants; unambiguous astronomical nomenclature; promotion of educational activities in astronomy; and informal discussions on the possibilities for future international large-scale facilities. Furthermore, the IAU serves as the internationally recognized authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and surface features on them.
"I consider it an honor to have been elected by my colleagues to IAU membership," says Shuch. "My only regret is that I did not join this august body a dozen years ago. If I had, I might have been able to use my voice and energies to help prevent Pluto's demotion from planetary status."
Largely using radio telescopes and optical telescopes, SETI scientists seek to determine whether humankind is alone in the universe. Since Congress terminated NASA's SETI funding in 1993, The SETI League and other scientific groups have privatized the research. Amateur and professional scientists interested in participating in the search for intelligent alien life, and citizens wishing to help support it, should email our Secretary/Treasurer at heather_at_setileague_dot_org, check the SETI League Web site at http://www.setileague.org/, or contact The SETI League, Inc. membership hotline at +1 (800) TAU-SETI. Be sure to provide us with a postal address to which we will mail further information. The SETI League, Inc. is a membership-supported, non-profit [501(c)(3)], educational and scientific corporation dedicated to the scientific Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.
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this page last updated 20 October 2018
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