From IAU: “IAU Receives Prestigious Edinburgh Medal”

IAU bloc

International Astronomical Union

The 2016 Edinburgh Medal will be jointly awarded to Kevin Govender from IAU’s Office of Astronomy for Development and the International Astronomical Union (IAU) on Wednesday 30 March at the 2016 Edinburgh International Science Festival, to recognise their wide-reaching contribution to science.

It is awarded jointly for the creation and practical establishment of the Office of Astronomy for Development, which integrates the pursuit of scientific knowledge with social development for and with those most in need. Under the pioneering stewardship of Kevin Govender, the Office of Astronomy for Development, hosted at the South African Astronomical Observatory in partnership with the National Research Foundation and the South African Department of Science and Technology, has successfully harnessed astronomy in the service of global education and capacity building.

The Edinburgh Medal is a prestigious award given each year to men and women of science and technology whose professional achievements are judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity. The 2016 Edinburgh International Science Festival will run from 26 March to 10 April.

Kevin Govender and President of the IAU Silvia Torres Peimbert will be presented with the Edinburgh Medal at the Chambers of the City of Edinburgh Council on Wednesday 30 March. They will give the Edinburgh Medal Address: Astronomy for a Better World as part of the 2016 Edinburgh International Science Festival, in the presence of Lord (Martin) Rees, the UK Astronomer Royal.

On behalf of the IAU, its President Silvia Torres Peimbert said; “I am delighted that the work of the IAU in the field of development has been recognised by the award of this medal. Astronomy is an exciting and stimulating pursuit and has a large part to play in inspiring the next generation of scientists from developing countries. I hope this award will highlight this important work and encourage others to contribute.”

The IAU General Secretary, Piero Benvenuti, adds: “IAU is proud of the prestigious recognition awarded to its Strategic Plan of Astronomy for Development and wishes to congratulate the visionary initiators of the Plan: George Miley, Robert Williams and Ian Corbett, as well as the South African National Research Foundation that, as IAU partner in the project, is effectively contributing to the success of the Plan.”

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The International Astronomical Union (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 — 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. The IAU has 12422 members. The Individual Members Directory contains 10364 names in 97 countries worldwide (These Individual Members are labeled as “active” in the IAU database: they have a valid, public email, and are affiliated to at least one Division.). Of those 74 are National Members. In addition, the IAU collaborates with various scientific organizations all over the world.

The long-term policy of the IAU is defined by the General Assembly and implemented by the Executive Committee, while day-to-day operations are directed by the IAU Officers. The focal point of its activities is the IAU Secretariat, hosted by the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, France. The scientific and educational activities of the IAU are organized by its 9 Scientific Divisions and, through them, its 35 specialized Commissions covering the full spectrum of astronomy, along with its 32 Working Groups.

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 25 Joint Discussions and Special Sessions, and individual business and scientific meetings of Divisions, Commissions, and Working Groups. The proceedings of Joint Discussions and Special Sessions are published in the Highlights of Astronomy series. The reports of the GA business meetings are published in the Transactions of the IAU – B series.