Impact of Astrophysics Research on Society (The contributions to society…
Impact of Astrophysics Research on Society
The contributions to society of astrophysical research
CCDs in cameras
Programming languages (IDL, FORTH)
GPS (uses quasars for accurate positioning)
Military, early warning systems
clean room protocals
WLAN (wifi configuration)
X-ray at TSA security checks
probe structural weakening of buildings, noninvasive
innovative solutions to a variety of fields
Students inspired to study STEM
Private companies to sponsor technological innovation
The study of astrophysics offers techniques and the impetus to solve complex problems that can then be applied to a variety of fields—fields that directly affect the way that people live their lives.
counter the drawbacks to conducting research, such as ballooning costs or controversial infrastructure
Image processing and analysis
medical fields, doctor diagnoses
collaboration across the world to coordinate telescope time and share findings
insight into how disparate cultures can work together for a common purpose
"[Astronomy] acts as a window into the immense size and complexity of space, putting Earth into perspective and promoting global sitizenship and pride in out home planet." (Rosenburg, et. al.)
exchange of knowledge
cross-collaboration is immense, and there are so many more problems that can be solved by looking at them with different perspectives.
Perhaps political individuals can learn from the international collaboration done in the name of astrophysics.
On a basic level, what astrophysics research teaches is how to assess and build models around huge, complex data sets. These are skills that can be carried into a variety of fields if a researcher can collaborate
offer expertise and techniques to other fields
learning how to accurately assess data to come to real-world conclusions about problems
Researchers in other areas can also learn about the ways in which astrophysics can contribute to their own work
It offers society a variety of skilled and innovative people who can apply their expertise to more than analyzing stars.
results often come in the form of long-term results
It offers economic opportunities for innovation and job creation.
continued client-supplier relationships with astro orgs (NASA, ESO, etc.)
companies of all sizes respond to need
The potential of collaboration itself adds another layer of inspiration for humanity to benefit from. Perhaps we can better learn how to address other international issues from the way that scientists do.
Naive view of astrophysics research
sources that talked about the benefits of astrophysics only talked about the benefits; sources that talked about the downsides of astrophysics only talked about the downsides.
scientists don’t always consider the ramifications of their work
scientists in outreach largely only speak to the benefits
those who oppose elements of research only disparage it
scientists in outreach positions have a tendency to isolate themselves, and perhaps have some pathological need to prove that what they are doing is worth it
The literature that introduces hard research looking at the benefits and costs of astrophysical research is sparse. Much of what is talked about is hearsay or reporting only—very little hard data.
Perceived as reveling in the pursuit of knowledge only for the sake of expanding our understanding of the universe
Understanding context and creating a balanced discourse on the impact of research
The conversation calls for a voice that combines these perspectives and offers a kind of calculus regarding the overall societal yield of this kind of research.
Create a nuanced view of how astrophysics both contributes to and detracts from society
research should not exist in a bubble.
important to discuss the value of scientific endeavors no matter the field in such a way that demonstrates its worth beyond the scientific community
Scientists have a responsibility to recognize when they have overstepped the rights of individuals or when they are not conducting science in an efficient and fiscally responsible way.
Astrophysics research at the level it is conducted today requires:
survey the whole sky takes the who world
Why should we build a balanced view
Both sides need to be weighed when assessing the value of any particular project.
more informed assessment of the value.
We can only improve our process if we know what we are doing wrong.
Others will see how beneficial this type of research can be and so will be more inclined to fund it.
Science for science’s sake is a wonderful ideal but can be prohibitive and irresponsible in some cases.
Delays in completion
Disregarding rights of individuals
DKIST and TMT in Hawaii
Science should not be done at the expense of certain groups.
As something that is done almost entirely for the sake of knowledge alone, we need to conduct scientific research in a way that empowers people rather than setting them back
Creating science outreach that is balanced and nuanced is more credible, leading to more support for the efforts they present.
if society at large sees that astrophysical researchers are doing their work in a conscientious way, others will see that the science is done responsibly.
assess their own fields in a similar way
look to astrophysicists to help solve problems they are having in their field.
bolstering scientific endeavors brings everyone forward
There have been numerous studies on how the level of scientific education is correlated to the success of a nation.
more educated public
Astrophysics inspires students to pursue a whole swath of STEM fields
foster scientists who look outside of their field
see how their activities affect the world away from their research
true value of the benefits will become clearer and stronger.
Given an unlimited budget and an isolated situation, we could do all the science we could ever dream of.
questioned my career path to continue studying astrophysics.
Specifically, I could see myself using the information I have learned here to apply to programs that are harnessing cross-disciplinary techniques.
would want to look more into studies that use data analysis and imaging techniques and quantify how those techniques better inform the policy decisions for urban centers or the diagnoses in medical situations.
I would want to look into other fields, keeping my ears open for other ways that the techniques learned in astrophysics could help move the needle in other fields.
Research on astrophysical research
properly assess what the true effects are on society
pinpoint areas that need to be addressed.
better prepare researchers to conduct their research efficiently and constructively
need to be aware of the context in which we do research
dearth of unbiased, quantitative research
bolsters the credibility of such endeavors.
What has been done?
Economic impact of ESO's VLT
more of these studies could be done, especially in light of the costs of building the JWST and the controversy around the site of the TMT.
What could be done?
effect of the new techniques implemented
improvement of international relations.
For example, the same kind of study can go into the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) or the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). The TMT would be interesting in particular to look at (once built) because of the controversy over its site.
Astrophysics is not just some isolated field that does its share of navel-gazing, nor should it be.