The final IYA2009 talk!
This is being given by Robert Williams, the new International Astronomical Union President.
He recalls how Franco Pacini was instrumental in getting IYA2009 onto the UN’s agenda. A well-deserved round of applause is given!
So! We’ve heard about the large projects that will come in the near to intermediate future. Astronomy is a pure science which has relatively few practical applications, to an interface with the public is essential for astronomy to continue. Human curiosity and access to the sky are two valuable resources, and two reasons why IYA2009 has been such a large success. The network is vast.
Astronomy has been a growth industry of recent decades. Astronomy posters have finally replaced those of dinosaurs on classroom walls! Is the growth sustainable? Or has it been a bubble ready to burst? It should be sustainable if we continue to couple new discoveries with communication with the public.
We seem to be genetically hardwired to be fascinated with the Universe.
IYA2009 has shown that astronomy can be used to educate and involve the public. It is a pure science with nearly no negative aspects (then occasional killer asteroid aside), and can be studied anywhere in the ...