Watch this episode and you’ll feel the hope and positivity emanating from your screen from Aparna and John. Michael discusses, with Aparna and John, humanity’s lost connection with the sky, forgotten sky stories and traditions from many cultures, and even the lighting industry’s little corner of the climate change problem, which we could effectively tackle RIGHT NOW, if there was only the willpower to do so. Aparna and John haven’t lost hope. Aparna Venkatesan is an astronomer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and co-Director of the Tracy Seeley Center for Teaching Excellence, at the University of San Francisco. She works on studies of the first stars and quasars in the universe, and is also actively involved in projects in cultural astronomy and space policy. She currently serves as co-Chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Committee to Protect Astronomy and the Space Environment (COMPASSE). Professor Venkatesan has been recognized internationally for her research and DEI leadership, featured widely in the media, and received numerous prizes and awards. She is deeply committed to increasing the retention of underrepresented groups in astronomy and STEM, and is active in developing scientific partnerships with Indigenous communities worldwide.
John Barentine is the Principal Consultant at Dark Sky Consulting, LLC, and was formerly the Director of Public Policy for the International Dark-Sky Association. He earned a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin, and previously held staff positions at the National Solar Observatory, Apache Point Observatory, and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Throughout his career, he has been involved in education and outreach efforts to help increase the public understanding of science. He is a member of the American Astronomical Society and the International Astronomical Union, and is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. The asteroid (14505) Barentine is named in his honor. His interests outside of astronomy and light pollution research include history, art and architecture, politics, law and current events.
Connect with Aparna: https://www.usfca.edu/faculty/aparna-venkatesan
Connect with John: https://twitter.com/JohnBarentine
Mastodon: @JohnBarentine@astrodon.social www.darkskyconsulting.com