Astrophysical ionizing radiation sources and their impact on life
A multidisciplinary workshop
Honolulu, Hawaii, May 29-31, 2007
In Conjunction with the Meeting of the American Astronomical Society
This session is timely for a number of reasons. The geological community has accepted the reality of bolide impacts as a significant effect on the terrestrial environment, but radiation effects are not generally considered. However, radiation events are expected over geological timescales, and have been shown to have potentially strong effects on the terrestrial environment. Such events may include nearby supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, and unusually large solar flares. There is now isotopic evidence for a supernova at about 30-40 pc about 2.8 My ago. While there is new interest in climate change in the geological and paleontological community, there is increasing evidence for strong coupling to astrophysical causes. Confirmation of the abundance of extrasolar planets has created new interest in the possible distribution of habitable planets.
We plan one day of invited talks on May 29, after which the style will become
extremely informal and conversational. We expect participants from not only
astrophysics, but also geology, atmospheric science, paleontology, and radiation
health physics. We therefore plan short talks with extended discussion periods
on May 30 and 31. Many participants in this meeting will not be AAS members,
but will pay a special reduced registration fee to be arranged by the AAS, and
will be eligible for the AAS rate at conference hotels. Note that the full
AAS meeting begins earlier, on May 27. The link to the AAS meeting site is
Invited (Confirmed) Speakers (May 29)
- "When Stars Attack! Live Radioactivities as Geological Signatures of
Nearby Supernovae" Brian Fields
Astronomy, University of Illinois
- "The Impact of Large Solar Particle Events on the Ancient
Northern Arizona University
- "Cosmic ray variability and galactic dynamics" Mikhail Medvedev
Dept. Physics &
Astronomy, University of Kansas
- "Some Radiological Constraints on the Transport of Living
Organisms through Space"
P. Andrew Karam
Senior Health Physicist, MJW Corporation
- "Temporal patterns in diversity change on Earth over time" Richard Bambach
Palebiology Group, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History
- "Atmospheric damage from ionizing radiation" Adrian Melott
Dept. Physics and
Astronomy, University of Kansas
- "UV-B Radiation Contributes to Amphibian Population Declines" Andrew Blaustein
Depts. Of Zoology and Environmental Sciences, Oregon State University
- "The Galactic Habitable Zone and the Age Distribution of Complex Life in the Milky Way" Charley Lineweaver
Depts. Astronomy, Astrophysics, &
Earth Sciences, Australian National University
Registration and abstract procedures
If you are an AAS member, please register normally on their website.
If you are not an AAS member, please email firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get
a password which will allow you to register for the splinter workshop.
In this email, please mention that you are wishing to register for the
workshop chaired by Melott.
Note that the registration fee increases on March 18 and April 22 coinciding
with the end of Early and Advance Registration periods.
AAS members wishing to submit an abstract for a contributed talk at the splinter workshop
(these will not be limited to 5 minutes!) should look for a sorting category
corresponding to the title of this workshop, and should note the splinter
workshop on "astrophysical radiation sources and life" in the comment field
of their abstract. Non-AAS members should do the same, except that they will
need a password from email@example.com in order to submit an abstract. The
exact length of talks will be determined after submissions are received.
Everyone should plan to make their presentations comprehensible across
disciplinary boundaries, and expect extended discussion periods comparable
to the length of the talk.
Note that normal abstract submission (and publication in the meeting schedule)
ends on March 21.
- Adrian Melott, University of Kansas (Chair)
- Brian Fields, University of Illinois
- P. Andrew Karam, MJW Corporation
- Steve Leslie, University of Arkansas
Images courtesy NASA
Last Updated: May 11, 2007