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Education and Outreach: March 2012


This year's application deadline for grants from the Barringer Family Fund for Meteorite Impact Research is April 6, 2012. This program provides 3 to 5 competitive grants each year in the range of $2500 to $5000 USD for support of field research at known or suspected impact sites worldwide. Grant funds may be used to assist with travel and subsistence costs, as well as laboratory and computer analysis of research samples and findings. Masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral students enrolled in formal university programs are eligible. Over the past 10 years, 34 research projects have been supported. For additional details and an application, please go to http://www.lpi.usra.edu/science/kring/Awards/Barringer_Fund/index.html.

For a flyer to post at your institution, please go to http://www.lpi.usra.edu/science/kring/Awards/Barringer_Fund/Barringerflyer.pdf

The Barringer Family Fund for Meteorite Impact Research has been established as a memorial to recognize the contributions of Brandon, Moreau, Paul, and Richard Barringer to the field of meteoritics and the Barringer family's strong interest and support over many years in research and student education. In addition to its memorial nature, the Fund also reflects the family's long-standing commitment to responsible stewardship of The Barringer Meteorite Crater and the family's steadfast resolve in maintaining the crater as a unique scientific research and education site.

The 2012 Astrobiology Graduate Student Conference (AbGradCon) will be held on August 27 - 30, 2012, preceded by the Research Focus Group splinter, August 24-26. The science program for the conference will be held at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), with an outreach event at the University of Southern California (USC), and a field-trip to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The conference will consist of three days of scientific sessions, two evenings of public outreach and education activities, and a one day field trip to JPL. Approximately 100 participants consisting of graduate students and early career postdocs are expected from both the US and abroad. The talks and poster sessions will draw on the success of past AbGradCons as a venue for early career astrobiologists to expand their horizons by forming collaborations and sharing their work and ideas with their contemporaries.

By incorporating organized outreach events, we will highlight the importance of education and communication within our field and provide a venue for public involvement with the astrobiology community. The JPL tour is a unique aspect of this year's meeting, and comes at an especially exciting time for the lab, just after the Curiosity rover's (MSL) landing at Mars. At JPL participants will view active laboratories and mission development relevant to astrobiology.

For more information, please visit our website: http://abgradcon.org or email 2012abgradcon2012@gmail.com.

NASA is accepting applications from science and engineering post-docs, recent PhDs, and doctoral students for its 24th Annual Planetary Science Summer School, which will hold two separate sessions this summer (18-22 June and 16-20 July) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. During the program and pre-session webinars, student teams will carry out the equivalent of an early mission concept study, prepare a proposal authorization review presentation, present it to a review board, and receive feedback. By the end of the session, students will have a clearer understanding of the life cycle of a space mission; relationships between mission design, cost, and schedule; and the tradeoffs necessary to stay within cost and schedule while preserving the quality of science. Applications are due March 28, 2012. Partial financial support is available for a limited number of individuals. For more information: http://pscischool.jpl.nasa.gov.

School title: Origins of the Building Blocks for Life

Location: Palacio de Magdalena, Santander, Cantabria, Spain

Dates: June 18 - June 22, 2012
Application deadline: March 16, 2012 (NAI scholarships)
Application deadline: March 30, 2012 (CIFAR scholarships)

The 2012 International Astrobiology Summer School will be held at the summer campus of the Spanish National University (UIMP), Palacio de la Magdalena, Santander, Spain on June 18-22. This year's theme is "Origins of the Building Blocks for Life." Confirmed lecturers include: George Cody, Carnegie Institution of Washington; Jamie Elsila, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Karen Meech, University of Hawaii; and Alessandro Morbidelli, Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur, Nice.

For more information and to download the scholarship applications, visit http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/UIMP/2012/

The school is co-sponsored by the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) and the Spanish Centro de Astrobiologia (CAB), with additional support from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and the Astrobiology Society.

The Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) invites applications for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the area of exoplanet exploration, including observational investigations and/or instrumentation development. The successful applicant will carry out independent research on the detection of exoplanets and characterization of exoplanetary systems and their parent stars, with emphasis on exploring the conditions for habitability.

Applicants must send a current CV with list of publications, contact information for 3 professional references, and a 1-2 page statement of research interests to Professor Jon A. Morse (jmorse@rpi.edu).

Potential applicants may wish to review the current research activities of the NY Center for Astrobiology at: http://www.origins.rpi.edu/origin.html

and consider how she/he could complement and enhance its portfolio, then include such ideas in the research statement.

Applicants must have a PhD (or foreign degree equivalent) in astronomy, astrophysics, physics, planetary science, or related field. The initial appointment is for 1 year beginning as early as July 2012, renewable for up to 2 additional years pending satisfactory review and availability of funding.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has a strong institutional commitment to diversity and is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP)

The NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) offers scientists and engineers unique opportunities to conduct research at NASA Centers. Each NPP fellowship opportunity is designed to advance NASA research in a specific project related to space science, earth science, aeronautics, exploration systems, lunar science, astrobiology, or astrophysics.

Applicants must have a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in hand before beginning the fellowship, but may apply while completing the degree requirements. U. S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, and foreign nationals eligible for J-1 status as a Research Scholar may apply.

Stipends start at $50,000 per year, with supplements for high cost-of-living areas and for certain academic specialties. Financial assistance is available for relocation and health insurance, and $8,000 per year is provided for professional travel.

Applications are accepted three times each year: March 1, July 1, and November 1.

For further information and to apply, visit: http://nasa.orau.org/postdoc/description/index.htm

Questions may be submitted by e-mail to nasapostdoc@orau.org

NASA is accepting applications from science and engineering post-docs, recent PhDs, and doctoral students for its 24th Annual Planetary Science Summer School, which will hold two separate sessions this summer (18-22 June and 16-20 July) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. During the program and pre-session webinars, student teams will carry out the equivalent of an early mission concept study, prepare a proposal authorization review presentation, present it to a review board, and receive feedback. By the end of the session, students will have a clearer understanding of the life cycle of a space mission; relationships between mission design, cost, and schedule; and the tradeoffs necessary to stay within cost and schedule while preserving the quality of science. Applications are due March 28, 2012. Partial financial support is available for a limited number of individuals. Further information is available at: http://pscischool.jpl.nasa.gov

Please join in welcoming NASA Astrobiology Program Postdoctoral Fellow Arsev Aydinoglu to the NAI Central team! He is a social scientist studying NAI's current collaborative practices. He will provide insight and recommendations for their evolution and improvement, particularly with respect to remote communication, data sharing and analysis across distance, collaborative problem solving, interdisciplinary science, and institutional identity.

Arsev received his Ph.D. in Information Science from the College of Communication and Information, at the University of Tennessee, where he investigated the emergence of DataONE, a multidisciplinary, multiinstitutional, and multinational distributed organization to develop a cyberinfrastructure to deposit, share, and preserve earth sciences data.

Arsev's plan for his time at the NAI involves two phases, in phase 1 he will assess the current collaborative practices regarding (i) communication behaviors; (ii) data and information behaviors; (iii) collaborative work and interdisciplinary interaction; and (iv) institutional identity. In the second phase he plans to integrate and interpret the data to provide insights and recommendations to NAI management in order to improve efficient communication, data sharing, collaborative analysis and problem solving; to foster interdisciplinary science and collaborative work; and to strengthen institutional identity.