E/PO and Highlighted Events

The following events are open to all conference participants.

Saturday, June 13:
Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG):  8:00 a.m.—5:00 p.m. Boulevard
NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG) will hold its twelfth meeting on Saturday and Sunday, June 13–14, 2015. ExoPAG meetings are open to the entire scientific community, and offer an opportunity to participate in discussions of scientific and technical issues in exoplanet exploration, and to provide input into NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP). All interested members of the astronomical and planetary science communities are invited to attend and participate. ExoPAG-12 will continue to focus on soliciting input from the wider exoplanet community on ways in which NASA might facilitate exoplanet research over the next few years, as well as input on how it should prioritize its ExEP activities. Suggestions for topics and/or speakers at the meeting along these lines are welcome. There will be reports from the active Study Analysis Groups (SAGs), as well as from the newly-constituted Science Interest Group (SIG) entitled “Toward a Near-Term Exoplanet Community Plan.” Questions and suggestions can be sent to NASA-ExoPAG@nasa.gov.

Sunday, June 14:
An Afternoon of Exploration:  The Future of Science Education:  12:30—4:30 p.m. Williford A
The newly formed Center for Education Through Exploration (ETX) at Arizona State University, in collaboration with Smart Sparrow, a recent Gates Foundation grantee, invites you to a special event, launching the Inspark Science Network. Explore the next wave of integrative and transdisciplinary approaches to teaching science using digital technologies, inspired by the astrobiology-inspired, NAI-supported ASU Online course, Habitable Worlds. Please bring your laptop.  Click here to RSVP.

Research Data Management in Astrobiology Workshop: 1:00—5:00 p.m. Williford B
In the last decade, the amount of research data created, collected, processed, and analyzed during the research process has increased enormously. Given that the lifespan of research data reaches beyond the life of the projects themselves, research data management (preservation, sharing, access, reuse, synthesis) is critical. Effective management of data requires cyberinfrastructure, policies and standards for metadata, interoperability, knowledge discovery, and a supportive scientific community. This interdisciplinary workshop brings together astrobiology scholars to discuss the issues on research data management, metadata standards and interoperability, the existing data repositories in various domains/disciplines, and best practices. The workshop is free to attend, but registration is encouraged to provide input to facilitate breakouts and discussions. Click here to register.

MIAC:  Minority Institute Astrobiology Collaborative:  1:00—5:00 p.m. Private Dining Room 4
The Minority Institute Astrobiology Collaborative (MIAC) was formed in 2002 by science and education faculty from minority-serving institutions (MSIs). MIAC meets virtually 2–3 times per year and in person at AbSciCon. We will discuss recent research and education efforts in astrobiology at MSIs. All those interested in joining are invited to attend.

Registration and Welcome Event:  5:00–8:00 p.m. Normandie Lounge
Check in early and avoid the lines on Monday morning! Network and visit with colleagues. The speaker-ready and poster session rooms will also be open to submit oral presentations and install posters.

Monday, June 15:

Virus Focus Group Meeting: 12:30—1:45 p.m. Boulevard B
The NASA Virus Focus Group Meeting is open to all interested attendees. The purpose of the group is to provide a forum for researchers from many disciplines, both within the NAI and the broader science community, to (i) define and address fundamental questions in astrovirology, (ii) review the current state of knowledge in this area, and (iii) formulate new areas of research to advance our understanding of how viruses may have influenced the origin and evolution of life here on Earth, and perhaps elsewhere in the Solar System.

FameLab USA Regional Heat:  Reception at 6:15 p.m. followed by program at 7:30 p.m. Grand Ballroom
Cheer on early-career scientists as they compete in the FameLab USA Regional Heat at AbSciCon.  FameLab is a fun-filled experience of competition, coaching, and camaraderie that’s all about communicating! It’s something like American Idol for scientists — contestants give a three-minute PowerPoint-free talk to a panel of judges, and they give constructive feedback. There’s a communication training workshop as well, so unlike American Idol, everyone wins.
Don’t want to just be a spectator?  Join us at AbSciCon to hone your skills, interact with like-minded scientists, and learn from communication specialists. Click here to register to compete.

Tuesday, June 16:

Chicago Night:
There are no conference activities scheduled Tuesday evening. Take the night off to explore the city. Here is a small sampling of events to enjoy with your colleagues:

Chicago Cubs vs. Indians at 7:05 p.m. Join a group to root for the Cubs at Wrigley Field. We will take over a section in the Budweiser Bleachers. Tickets are $36.00 each and will go fast. Purchase tickets here.

Use the CTA Elevated train, cab, or shared ride (Uber or Lyft) to get to Wrigley Field. Contact Shawn Domagal-Goldman or Britney Schmidt about this participant-organized outing.

Lake and River Architectural Cruises  Sunset (7:15 p.m.) and evening (9:15 p.m.) tours sail from Navy Pier.

Lakefront Speedboat Tours depart Navy Pier hourly until 9:00 p.m.

Buddy Guy’s Legends Blues Club is a three-minute walk from the Hilton Chicago.

Visit the Choose Chicago Event Calendar for other activities.

Wednesday, June 17:
SAGANet.org Mentor Meeting: 12:30–1:45 p.m. Boulevard C
The SAGANet mentor meeting will be chance for SAGANet mentors to meet each other and the leadership team. An introduction to the SAGANet mentoring program and updates on STEM mentoring opportunities and training through SAGANet will be presented.

AbSciCon Early-Career Social:  9:30–10:30 p.m. Location: 720 Lounge in the hotel lobby
An opportunity to network with other early-career professionals after the evening poster session.