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Physics of the Cosmos News

Call for Nominations to the Executive Committee of the Physics of the Cosmos Program Analysis Group (PhysPAG)

Note: Dates for submission and selection updated.

October 21, 2020

Apply now to be a member of the NASA Physics of the Cosmos Program Analysis Group (PhysPAG) Executive Committee (EC). NASA expects to make multiple appointments, each for three years. We welcome self-nominations and particularly encourage people of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints to apply.

Key skills include good communication, a desire and ability to facilitate community organization and collaborative conclusions, and a broad perspective across the PCOS disciplines. Knowledge of technology additionally helps support PCOS technology objectives, including clarifying technology gaps; selection will consider a balance of members with expertise in technology and in other areas.

Please see the attached Dear Colleague Letter for a more full description of this opportunity, including the deadline and how to apply for membership on the EC.

Dear Colleagues:

The Astrophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is pleased to issue this open call for nominations, including self-nominations, to serve on the Executive Committee of NASA’s Physics of the Cosmos Program Analysis Group, or PhysPAG (http://pcos.gsfc.nasa.gov/physpag/). In the coming months, NASA anticipates making multiple new appointments to the PhysPAG Executive Committee (EC) in order to replace several current members who will be rotating off the committee. Appointments will be for a nominal period of three years for each selected candidate.

The Physics of the Cosmos (PCOS) Program is one of the three thematic programs that encompass NASA Astrophysics. PCOS seeks to answer the enduring question “How does our Universe work?”. The other two thematic programs, Exoplanet Exploration (ExEP) and Cosmic Origins (COR) seek to answer the questions “Are we alone?” and “How did we get here?” respectively.

The PhysPAG is an open, interdisciplinary forum that provides a conduit for community input into NASA’s PCOS Program. The PhysPAG conducts analyses in support of science objectives and their implications for planning and prioritization of Program activities. The PhysPAG is led by an Executive Committee whose membership is chosen to reflect the broad range of scientific disciplines and interests represented in PCOS. As a member of the PhysPAG EC, you will provide NASA with expert analysis of the science and/or technology gaps and offer analysis of solutions on how these gaps may be closed to realize the vision for our desired understanding of the cosmos. Members of the PhysPAG EC are expected to be active participants at regular meetings. EC members may be asked to report on various community activities or interactions, and are expected to communicate relevant PhysPAG information with their home institutions and colleagues in the field on a regular basis. Serving on the PhysPAG EC requires a time commitment of order 10 hours per month.

With the results of the Astro2020 Decadal Survey coming in 2021, it is more important than ever to maintain a strong connection between NASA and the astrophysics community to ensure that NASA is best prepared to implement the results. Serving on the PhysPAG EC offers excellent career growth for all members of the PCOS community, regardless of career stage. EC members gain tremendous insight into the workings of NASA, as well as the opportunity to expand their professional networks as recognized leaders of the PCOS community.

Nominations, including self-nominations, for the PhysPAG EC should be submitted via email to PhysPAG-ECNominations@bigbang.gsfc.nasa.gov. Nominations must include both a cover letter and a one-page curriculum vitae summarizing the nominee’s relevant background, all bound in a single PDF file with a file size no greater than 1 Mb. The cover letter should provide a description of the nominee’s area(s) of expertise and qualifications for serving on the PhysPAG EC. The cover letter should also affirm that the nominee has the time available to be an active member of the EC at the necessary engagement level. The deadline for receipt of nominations is November 6, 2020, with announcement of selections anticipated in December 2020.

EC members will be selected according to the following criteria:

  1. Diversity across a variety of axes, including race/ethnicity, backgrounds, gender, geography, institution size, institution type, eg academic institution, government lab, other; career stage, breadth of science; and technology expertise.
  2. As noted above, we seek EC members who can provide NASA with expert analysis of the science and/or technology gaps and offer analysis of solutions on how these gaps may be closed to realize the vision for our desired understanding of the Physics of the Cosmos.
  3. EC members should also be “connectors” and “communicators,” i.e., be active and engaged in the astrophysics community so that they can help facilitate a vibrant exchange of ideas, information, and knowledge between NASA and the broader community.

Nominations will only be accepted for scientists who reside at a U.S. Institution for the period of the service. There is no limitation on citizenship.

We look forward to working with all of our stakeholders to continue a robust and compelling Physics of the Cosmos Program.


Brian J. Williams, Ph.D.
Interim Chief Scientist, Physics of the Cosmos Program Office
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Daniel A. Evans, Ph.D.
Program Scientist, Physics of the Cosmos
NASA Headquarters

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