Partnerships that Matter
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Partnerships that Matter

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2011 American Astronautical Society Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium--William Smith, AURA

2011 American Astronautical Society Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium--William Smith, AURA

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  • WHAT I WILL TALK ABOUT IS A PARTICULAR PARTNERSHIP THAT LED TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE. DESPITE THIS SEEMINGLY PAROCHIAL FOCUS, THE IDEA OF A LARGE ORBITING SPACE TELESCOPE PRECEEDED THE ESTABLISHMENT OF NASA AND AS A PROJECT BECAME DEFINING FOR NASA IN MANY AREAS, INCLUDING ITS RELATIONSHIP TO THE SCIENCE COMMUNITY.
  • A partnership is a relationship of mutual dependencies and mutual benefits, but it is always a difficult relationship
  • FROM THE OUTSET, VIEWS ON ALL SIDES WERE DIFFICULT MANY IN THE COMMUNITY WERE SUSPICIOUS OF THE COMPETENCE AND CAPBABILITIES OF CIVIL SERVICE SCIENTISTS THE NASA MANAGEMENT APPROACH WAS WORLDS DIFFERENT THAN THE NSF HANDS OFF APPROACH THAT THEY WERE USED TO
  • TO BEGIN THIS STORY, I REALLY NEED TO START WITH JAMES WEBB, THE FIRST ADMINISTRATOR OF NASA. AS YOU MIGHT GUESS I WILL PROBABLY END WITH JAMES WEBB ALSO, JAMES WEBB THE TELESCOPE. WEBB HAD A GRAND VISION OF WHAT ROLE SCIENCE SHOULD PLAY IN NASA AND WHAT ROLE NASA SHOULD PLAY IN SCIENCE.
  • IN REGARD TO THE FIRST THERE IS FASCINATING HISTORICAL RECORDS THAT INDICATE HOW HARD WEBB FOUGHT TO MAKE SCIENCE A MAJOR ELEMENT OF THE SPACE PROGRAM. THIS WAS NOT AT ALL OBVIOUS TO KENNEDY OR HIS ADVISORS AND SOME OF THE DISCUSSION AT THAT TIME GOT VERY POINTED. IRONICALLY WEBB, NOT A SCIENTIST, PREVAILED, BUT MORE ACCURATELY WAS TOLERATED
  • A MAJOR MILESTONE IN THIS DEBATE TOOK PLACE IN 1965 WHEN WEBB ASKED NOMRAN RAMSEY TO CHAIR A COMMITTEE TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS ON HOW NASA COULD BEST ACCOMPLISH A SPACE ASTRONOMY PROGRAM. SURPRISINGLY AT THE TIME, THE RAMSEY COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED THAT THE ASTRONOMY PROGRAM BE TRANSFERRED TO A CONSORTIUM OF UNIVERSITIES. NEEDLESS TO SAY, THIS RECOMMENDATION DID NOT SIT WELL WITH NASA, AND THEY ESTABLISHED ADVISORY COMMITTEES INSTEAD.
  • Over the next decade, its fair to say that the debate raged. There were a few, however, that began to appreciate the value that such a partnership might really have, one of these individuals was Noel Hinners.
  • IN 1976 A COMMITTEE OF THE NRC CHAIRED BY DON HORNIG AGAIN RECOMMENDED THAT THE SCIENCE ROLE FOR THE SPACE TELESCOPE BE LOCATED OUTSIDE OF NASA. THE ASTRONOMERS WHO WOULD USE THE SPACE TELESCOPE WERE THE SAME WHO HAD BEEN USING GROUND BASED TELESCOPES AND THEY WERE MOST COMFORTABLE WITH A PLACE TO GO THAT MIMICED THE OBSERVATORY ENVIRONMENT THEY WERE USED TO. ASTRONOMERS, ESPECIALLY HERE AT GODDARD, WERE STRONGLY OPPOSED.
  • even though science was not (and arguably still isn't) a fundamental priority for NASA, there HAS been a strong partnership that matters between NASA and the science community, and this partnership has worked to the mutual benefit of both partners.
  • I believe the fraction of proposals devoted to cosmology has increased with time,  especially after the original Hubble Deep Field showed the value of Hubble in this area.  Those HDF observations essentially opened up the field of  galaxy evolution and showed that galaxies evolve strongly with lookback time - the state of galaxies at the beginning of time is a primary science  driver for JWST and the direct result of these deep field observations.     SImilarly, the study of dark energy, exoplanets, and a wide variety of  other topics at the forefront of astronomy because of Hubble provide the impetus for JWST.  (None of these were drivers for Hubble, but Hubble mad giant contributions nonetheless.)  We can only begin to  imagine what JWST will find and what it will motivate in the decade  after it is launched! For comparison, the fraction of cosmology proposals accepted in Cycle 9 (10 years ago) was 11%, only 1/3 of today's value.  So yes, cosmology interest has definitely grown over the past decade.  
  • I believe the fraction of proposals devoted to cosmology has increased with time,  especially after the original Hubble Deep Field showed the value of Hubble in this area.  Those HDF observations essentially opened up the field of  galaxy evolution and showed that galaxies evolve strongly with lookback time - the state of galaxies at the beginning of time is a primary science  driver for JWST and the direct result of these deep field observations.     SImilarly, the study of dark energy, exoplanets, and a wide variety of  other topics at the forefront of astronomy because of Hubble provide the impetus for JWST.  (None of these were drivers for Hubble, but Hubble mad giant contributions nonetheless.)  We can only begin to  imagine what JWST will find and what it will motivate in the decade  after it is launched! For comparison, the fraction of cosmology proposals accepted in Cycle 9 (10 years ago) was 11%, only 1/3 of today's value.  So yes, cosmology interest has definitely grown over the past decade.  

Partnerships that Matter Partnerships that Matter Presentation Transcript

  • Partnerships that Matter March, 2011
  • “ Partnership” Definition (Wikipedia)
    • A partnership is an arrangement where entities and/or individuals agree to cooperate to advance their interests
    • Partnerships can present partners with special challenges. Levels of give-and-take, areas of responsibility, lines of authority, and overarching goals of the partnership must all be negotiated.
  • Historical Impediments to the NASA/Science Community Partnership
    • Many in the community were suspicious of competence and capabilities of NASA science counterparts
    • NASA approach (hands on) to managing science significantly differs from NSF (hands off)
    • Many viewed NASA as an engineering (not science) agency
  • NASA’s First Science Advocate James E. Webb “ In our pluralistic society, any major public undertaking requires a working consensus among diverse individuals, groups, and interests. A decision to do a large, complex job cannot simply be reached ‘at the top…’ ”
  • Transcript Nov. 21, 1962
    • President Kennedy: “ Do you think this program (Apollo) is the top priority of the Agency?”
    Webb: “ No sir I do not. I think it is one of the top priority programs, but I think it is very important here to recognize that…as you find how you could get beyond the Earth’s atmosphere and into space and make measurements, several scientific disciplines that are very powerful have begun to converge on this area….”
  • Initial Thinking 1965: Webb commissions a study by Norman F. Ramsey
    • Science program management should be transferred to a non-profit consortium of universities ( S pace T elescopes for A stronomical R esearch, Inc.)
    • Response : “…a strong STAR with a permanent staff of highly competent astronomers could become a strong competitor with universities, observatories, and NASA Centers…such a competition is not desirable from NASA’s or an academic viewpoint.” Homer Newell
    • NASA establishes an Astronomy Missions Board instead …. relations with science community sour
  • NASA HQ View of an Institute 1975 “… an institute could solve two problems; one pacify the ground based community, so that they’d be all the more supportive of the Space Telescope, and two, really provide an external advocate for a good operations program…” Noel Hinners
  • Community Views
    • NASA Astronomers strongly opposed central institute—favored distributed science centers
    • General community divided:
      • “ Top tier” institutions strongly favored a non-NASA institute
      • Many others saw a new National Lab type institute as a further drift away from pluralism, towards “Big Science”
  • A Turning Point in 1976: NRC Report by Donald Hornig
  • Space Telescope Science Institute Established: 1981 A Partnership is born-- Other institutes follow
  • HST Science Return
    • HST has produced over 9400 refereed publications, which is about 1.25 per day over the 21-year life of the mission.   
    • And the rate is increasing - nearly 2/day last year.  (719 papers in 2010) 
    • HST papers have gleaned over 340,000 citations, or an average of more than 40 citations per day.
    • HST is in demand around the world.
    • Approved HST programs have had more than 5000 unique investigators!
  • Science Return, Continued
    • In just the last two cycles, HST has supported over 300 FTE-years worth of young researcher salary.
    • Over the life of the mission, approximately $143 million dollars has been distributed to support postdocs and graduate students.
    • Approximately 500 PhD theses have been based on Hubble data.  Hubble has been, and continues, to train the next generations of astronomers.
  • 2009-2010: SM4 Impact number of readers reached Hubble’s public impact in 2009 # impressions = no. of stories x circulation SM4 science released
  • A 30 Year Partnership
    • Real partnership was multi-dimensional and grew over time
    • Institute and NASA worked together to enhance science return of HST and advocate its success in every possible way
    • Institute was instrumental in bringing astronomy community into the era of “Big Science” while preserving the ability to do science at all scales
  • Extending the Partnership: James Webb Space Telescope
  • James Webb Space Telescope
    • Deployable infrared telescope with 6.5 meter diameter segmented adjustable primary mirror
    • Cryogenic temperature telescope and instruments for infrared performance
    • Launch June 2014 on an ESA-supplied Ariane 5 rocket to Sun-Earth L2
    • 5-year science mission (10-year goal)
    Birth of stars and planets First light Planets and the origins of life The assembly of galaxies
  • Hubble community maps to JWST First light The assembly of galaxies Birth of stars and planets Planets and the origins of life
  • Science and NASA From Webb to Webb, a strong partnership that matters exists between NASA and the science community, and this partnership has worked to the mutual benefit of both partners