NASA Scientists Prevented from Attending Conference

Date: January 10th, 2019

Agency: Federal, NASA

Explanation: Government Censorship

Scientist: Other

Scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and other federal government agencies were prevented from attending the American Astronomical Society annual meeting due to the partial government shutdown. The meeting, which took place in Seattle from January 6 to 10, brings together leading scientists working in the field of astronomy. Government scientists were expected to comprise at least ten percent of the meeting’s participants, but most were unable to attend. Many of the government scientists had been scheduled to give presentations, which had to be taken over by other participants or cancelled. For example, a presentation on the James Webb Space Telescope by Jane Rigby, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, had to be cancelled as no one outside the agency had the relevant expertise to present. Rigby complained:

“This is the Super Bowl of astronomy, and we’re not allowed to play. It’s not even like we’re benched. We’re not even allowed in the stadium.”