The Astronomy and Geophysics Forums are independent, authoritative groups drawn from the community to discuss issues and, as appropriate, present their views to governing and funding bodies such as UKRI and BIS. Forum members are drawn from professors at UK universities and try to represent the views of all astronomers and geophysicists in their respective institutions.
The Forums complement the activities of the RAS, who arrange and host the meetings, but are independent of the Society. Meetings are held under a variant of the Chatham House Rule, whereby those giving presentations are identified, but those asking questions are not. This is to encourage a frank exchange of views. The Astronomy Forum largely replaces the former Standing Conference of Astronomy Professors.
The inaugural meeting of the Astronomy Forum was held at the RAS on 21 January 2009. Meetings are scheduled irregularly as issues arise, usually once or twice a year.
The two geophysics forums are split between subject areas, with one forum for research within the surface of the Earth and one for outside:
- The External Geophysics Forum covers atmospheric physics, solar-terrestrial physics, magnetospheres etc.
- The Solid Earth Geophysics Forum covers seismology, geophysical fluid dynamics, geodesy etc.
The inaugural meetings of both Geophysics Forums were held in 2013.
Speakers are encouraged, but not required, to make their presentations available online after the meeting. Notes and presentations from these meetings are available from the pages below.