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ASTR 3000

Homework Assignment #1
Communication is a huge part of science that we often ignore, much to our
detriment and peril. Your future, believe it or not, is replete with writing tasks:
summer REU applications, grad school applications, grant and fellowship proposals,
scientific papers, job applications outlining your experience and philosophy in
teaching and research (to name only a few). Writing about science is a skill, and it
must be learned. This semester will practice writing in various forms, alternating
between two parallel threads. One thread will address writing for non-science
audiences and focus on explanatory and persuasive writing. The other thread will
address writing as it pertains to professional science audiences and will be built
around activities that develop your writing as related to research skills. All writing
assignments should be typewritten, single-spaced, and spell-checked.

Writing Task:
Your legislator in continuing efforts to streamline budgets, one of our esteemed
legislators is considering sponsoring a bill that would zero out budget allocations for
basic research (not applied research). Astrophysics in particular, is at the head of
the chopping block because it is not clear what it is good for. Our elected officials
are as conscientious about their work as you are about yours. In an effort to ensure
they have considered all sides of the issue, a congressional staffer from the
legislators office has contacted you, asking you to comment on this issue. Please
write a position piece between 0.5 and 1.0 pages long, commenting on whether
federal spending should include funding for basic astrophysics research. Remember
that the people you are writing to (the staffer and the legislator) are not scientists;
your position can take any viewpoint you like. [20 PTS]

American Physical Society: Advocacy Portal (links to external sites)
Task Force on American Innovation
* Check out their "Publications Section"
National Radio Astronomy Observatory -- "Value of Radio Astronomy"
Soapbox Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Communicating Science Portal