Dr Mandy Bailey - Astronomy Secretary
c/o Royal Astronomical Society
B.Sc. (Open), Ph.D. (Keele), FRAS, MInstP. Associate Lecturer, Open University (2014-). Freelance Editorial Services (2013-). Projects Officer, National Schools’ Observatory, LJMU (2013-2015). Supply teacher (2006-2009). Head of Accounts Dept., Muller Dairy (UK) (1991-1993). Various accounting positions (1979-1991). RAS Council (2011-2018): Councillor (2011-2013), Astronomy Secretary (2013-2018), Vice-Chair RAS200 Advisory Group (2013-). Publicity Officer, Society for Popular Astronomy (SPA) (2005-2015). Chair, Shropshire Astronomical Society (SAS) (2009-2014).
Special interests: The structure and dynamics of the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds: mapping the tiny structures in the diffuse interstellar medium, using Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs) to trace molecular material in the cold and diffuse interstellar medium.
I have served as the RAS Astronomy Secretary for the last five years where I have been responsible for organising the Astronomy Specialist Discussion meetings; the Public Lecture programme; assessing RAS grant, and Education and Outreach grant, applications; assessing the RAS Astronomy Award nominations; working with the Education and Outreach, Finance, and RAS200 committees; as well as assisting in policy development. In 2014, I also took on the role of organising the National Astronomy Meeting (2015) in Llandudno.
In the role of Astronomy Secretary, I have been able to put together a cutting-edge science programme for the RAS Astronomy Specialist Discussion meetings covering as wide a range of topics and disciplines. Meetings that bring together theorists, observers and instrumentalists, looking to how best we can contribute to missions and use future datasets such as LSST, JWST, the SKA precursors and E-ELT. Meetings that build collaborations both in the UK and internationally, engaging with early career researchers and providing a platform for the UK’s work in astronomy to be presented and heard.
As Astronomy Secretary I have had an overarching view of the work the RAS does and as we head towards our bicentenary in 2020 we, as a society, need to work to ensure that we remain as essential in 2020 as we were in 1820. We need to ensure our sciences, and commitment to education and diversity continues to have a voice in the future.
I wish to build on the work I have done for the RAS over the last 7 years, using my experiences in the financial world, as a mature student and now Associate Lecturer and freelancer to continue to assist in policy development; particularly in the areas of education, outreach, and diversity and to help address the challenges we face in these testing times of Brexit, and those we face financially due to the increasing calls for Open Access publishing, and the increased demands on our Fellowship scheme and Grant programmes. I wish to continue to help the astronomy community show-case their achievements and build international collaborations through the Specialist Discussion Meetings, so the UK can continue to play a big part in European as well as worldwide science as the UK negotiates Brexit.
The RAS200 Outreach and Engagement scheme, which I have been involved in from the beginning, shows the Society’s commitment to bring our sciences to communities that would not otherwise have any involvement with astronomy or geophysics. I believe the RAS can learn from the projects in this scheme, learn how our partners reach out to a wider and more diverse audience and how the RAS might continue to improve its own work in this direction. Not only by giving people a second change at education and a greater confidence in their own abilities but by using what we can learn from our partners to ensure our academic communities are open, welcoming places that recognise excellence wherever it is found regardless of gender or disability.
I look forward to continuing my work with RAS and I am committed to working towards all the above goals in the role of Astronomy Secretary.