While we usually talk about meetings where astronomers get together, there are also other meetings where all types of scientists meet and exchange ideas. The AAAS meeting is one of them. "AAAS" stands for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and it is the world's largest general scientific society.
This past week, some 6,000 AAAS scientists met in Vancouver, British Columbia, representing over 50 countries around the world (not to mention about 600 journalists and other communication types from all over). Astronomy was there – there are sessions on Fermi, Herschel, ALMA, and more.
The theme of this year's AAAS meeting was "Flattening the World: Building a Global Knowledge Society." The idea is to look at how modern technology can help tackle some of the incredibly complex and inter-related science problems we face today.
We think this is an excellent tack. For the questions that Chandra tackles, we are very excited not only about how different telescopes on the ground and in space work together, but also how facilities like particle accelerators and the other "physics" laboratories make crucial contributions.
These days, the latest scientific data and ideas about them travel around the world just as fast as email or Twitter can carry them. So a lot can happen in a short period of time, and we're looking forward to the next AAAS meeting that will be held in Boston in February 2013.
-Megan Watzke, CXC