2006 ASP Annual Award Recipients
NASA (retired), USA
Jeffrey D. Rosendhal is the winner of the 2006 Klumpke-Roberts Award, for contributing to the public understanding of astronomy. Jeff is being honored for his vision and accomplishments as Director of Education and Public Outreach in the Office of Space Science at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The fact that the expression EPO has meaning to the space science and astronomy community is in large part due to Jeff's efforts. Because of his albeit sometimes bewildering, but ultimately brilliant organization, there now exists a growing cadre of EPO professionals, mostly young scientists, who have a burning passion for education and are committed and supported to improving the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy.
Andrew Fraknoi, in his article in Mercury on the emerging EPO profession (September-October 2005, pg 19) observed that "...the real spark for the establishment of a system for change came from an old Washington hand, astronomer Jeffrey Rosendhal, who (with the assistance of a national committee of scientists and educators) laid out a concrete vision forgetting science and scientists involved in education and outreach.....By 1997, NASA required all space-science programs, large or small, to put aside 1-2% of their total budget for education and outreach. This meant that millions of dollars became available to try new experiments and reach out to new audiences. Today, Larry Cooper, who is the acting manager of the system (now called the NASA Science Mission Directorate EPO Support Network), estimates that the space-science EPO enterprise is investing about 42 million dollars a year."
In addition to developing the vision for funding and implementation, Jeff instituted a policy to externally evaluate NASA Office of Space Science EPO efforts to provide critical feedback that could be used for program improvement. The inclusion of this evaluation has had a profound positive impact, not only on NASA OSS programs, but others who recognized its value. As a result, space science and astronomy EPO is emerging as a legitimate research field.
Dr. Jeffrey Rosendhal is truly a pioneer in helping NASA and all of us who believe in the critical role of increased public understanding in ensuring a robust future for astronomy and space science research.