AUI Statement on Racial Equity

As the nation continues to mourn and respond to the unjust death of George Floyd, there is no doubt that violent race-related incidents and the subsequent protests and clashes are the most urgent need for us as a society to address. Further, to address them, we must acknowledge that these are just the latest incidents of the systemic, deeply-rooted problems related to race in this country. We must learn from them and seek real change, toward real progress on increasing diversity, equity and inclusion.

As many know, June 10 has been identified as a “strike” day for academic institutions. We acknowledge many of our employees may choose to join the Strike for Black Lives, and we support them in their decision.  We have cancelled all standing meetings for the day and have provided employees with options for reading and self-reflection.  We support these actions as we fully believe that all lives can only matter when Black Lives Matter too.

At AUI, given that we run national and international facilities, we have a particular interest and focus on ensuring equal access – especially by underserved and underrepresented communities — to the facilities, opportunities and careers in R&D. AUI deeply values and prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion, and we understand the strength and value that they bring to R&D, and that they are integral to our mission and our operations. However, we must recognize and address the reality that while we strive for equal access, often access is experienced unequally across racial lines in our country. When left unaddressed or under-addressed, inequitable treatment of people has a destructive, toxic effect on our culture. Ending these inequities must be an integral part of our mission and our daily work. We have made good progress, but we have a long way to go. We must and will do better – always.

We are committed to providing a safe, non-discriminatory workplace for all our workforce, collaborators, users of our facilities, contractors, students and visitors. Our work conduct policies exemplify and reinforce our on-going commitment to maintaining an atmosphere where everyone is treated with respect. We are committed to our policies and improving them as needed to ensure that every one of us is heard and respected. We strive to proactively address inequity internally and to redouble our efforts with our partners and external stakeholders.

NSBP-AUI Partnership: Over the past decade, AUI has partnered with the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) on various STEM education projects and outreach initiatives. AUI and the observatories we manage have benefited significantly from this partnership, becoming more aware of issues facing persons of color in physics and astronomy and working together to implement solutions.  We remain committed to our enduring partnership and our shared set of values. While there are many ways to make a positive difference for a more inclusive world in our scientific communities, we encourage those seeking to make an impact to contribute to NSBP programs, or to another organization of your choice with the mission of enhancing diversity in the R&D and STEM fields. AUI is a proud supporter of the NSBP Scholarship for Minority Students Majoring in Physics, and we hope you will consider contributing as well. For more information, visit https://www.nsbp.org/ and click on the Donate tab.

In Other News…

Cyber Expert Wins FBI Community Leadership Award

Robert R. Wells, special agent in charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI has chosen a local cyber expert as the 2020 Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA) recipient for North Carolina. Torry Crass has been an invaluable partner to the FBI Charlotte field office since 2013.

2021 AUI Scholarship Recipients

Below are the fourteen winners of the 2021 AUI Scholarship conducted by International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc. These students will each receive an award of $3,500 per year to aid in defraying expenses at the college or university of their choice.

ITL Development Director: “We are convinced that our proposal is solid and meets all the requirements”

In an interview with Nueva Mining and Energy Magazine, Ricardo Raineri, Director of Development of the Chilean Institute of Clean Technologies (ITL) refers to the criticism that has hovered over Corfo’s decision, arguing that “it is essential to understand and emphasize that our proposal is based on an open platform model ”.

West Virginia Students Contact International Space Station LIVE

Friday, May 7th at 8:00 AM EDT, students in rural West Virginia will experience this once in a lifetime opportunity. Green Bank Elementary-Middle School (GBEMS) will be contacting astronaut Mark Vande Hei on the International Space Station (ISS).

The Universe just Became More Accessible: Free Software for Exploring the Universe Through Sound

Today free software has been released to help the blind and visually impaired (BIV) explore the universe through sound. With the support from the National Science Foundation’s STEM+C program, Innovators Developing Accessible Tools for Astronomy (IDATA) brought together nearly 200 BIV and sighted students, teachers, astronomers and programmers from across the Nation to create this innovative software called Afterglow Access.

Nueva Mineria covers the importance of ICTL’s Open Science model pioneered by AUI

The ICTL is a Chilean clean technology institute that is committed to developing innovations in the mining, power, battery, manufacturing, and related industrial sectors. The Open Science model allows a larger community to access R&D facilities based on the merit of their proposals.

VIDEO: Multi-wavelength Observations Reveal Impact of Black Hole on M87 Galaxy

In 2019, a worldwide collaboration of scientists used a global collection of radio telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) to make the first-ever image of a black hole — the supermassive black hole at the core of the galaxy M87, some 55 million light-years from Earth.

ACEAP Alumna Selected as Astronaut for SpaceX

Sian Procter, a participant in the Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program (ACEAP) in 2016, has been selected as an astronaut by SpaceX. The Inspiration4 mission, scheduled to launch sometime after 15 September 2021, will orbit Earth for three days and conduct a variety of experiments.

New Images Reveal Magnetic Structures Near Supermassive Black Hole

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — the worldwide collaboration that produced the first image of a black hole in 2019 — has produced a new image showing details of the magnetic fields in the region closest to the supermassive black hole at the core of the galaxy M87. The new work is providing astronomers with important clues about how powerful jets of material can be produced in that region.

After Long Shutdown, Giant Radio Telescope Array Set to Resume Observations

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a set of 66 radio astronomy dishes perched high in the Chilean Andes, was hit hard by the pandemic. It shut down on 22 March 2020 and has remained silent ever since—far longer than most scientific facilities....

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