Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 11:28:17 -0500 (EST)
Subject: CSWA Newsletter of 3/15/2000

            AAS Committee on the Status of Women
    weekly issues of  3/15/2000, ed. by Priscilla Benson
***  send email and addresses to  ***

This week's issues:
1.  Telescope Time
2.  NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts
3.  Back to Menstrual Cycles
4.  Jobs

NOTE:  No newsletter next week!
1. Telescope Time
From: "Wright, James P."

The following program solicitation is now available:
Advance Technologies and Instrumentation (ATI): Special 
Competition: Astronomical Applications with the Advanced 
Electro-Optical System (AEOS) of the United States Air Force
(NSF 00-70)
It is on the NSF Astronomy Webpage 
(, under New
and Important.

The direct URL is:

2. NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts
From: Bob Cassanova

(For additional information, see the NIAC website at
The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) has 
established the National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration (NASA) Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) 
under contract from NASA Headquarters through the Goddard 
Space Flight Center.  The NIAC has been formed for the 
explicit purpose of being an independent source of 
revolutionary aeronautical and space concepts that could 
dramatically impact how NASA develops and conducts its 
mission.  The institute is to provide a highly visible, 
recognized and high-level entry point for outside thinkers 
and researchers.

The purpose of the NIAC is to provide an independent, open 
forum for the external analysis and definition of space and 
aeronautics advanced concepts to complement the advanced 
concepts activities conducted within the NASA Enterprises.  
The NIAC will have advanced concepts as its sole focus.  It 
shall focus on revolutionary concepts -- specifically 
systems and architectures -- that can have a major impact on 
missions of the NASA Enterprises in the time frame of 10 to 
40 years in the future.  It will generate ideas for how the 
current NASA Agenda can be done better; it will expand our 
vision of future possibilities.  The scope of the NIAC is 
based on the National Space Policy, the NASA Strategic Plan, 
the NASA Enterprise Strategic Plans and future mission plans 
of the NASA Enterprises, but it will be bounded only by the 
horizons of human imagination.

Normal development of the NIAC advanced concepts will be 
carried out through issuance of research grants or 
subcontracts in a two-phased approach.  Phase I awards of 
approximately $50K-$75K will be for 6 months to validate the 
viability of the proposed concept and definition of major 
feasibility issues.  Phase II award(s) of $350K-$500K for a 
period of 18-24 months would study the major feasibility 
issues associated with cost, performance, development time 
and key technology issues.  Both Phase I and Phase II awards 
will be competitively selected by the NIAC based on an 
independent peer review.  Principal investigators (PIs) 
receiving NIAC grants will be designated as NIAC Fellows.   
If you want to learn more about the NIAC, please visit our 
web site at

If you have an idea for an advanced concept and want to get 
on our mailing list for the next Call for Proposals or just 
want to learn more about the NIAC, please visit our web site 

"Don't let your preoccupation with reality stifle your 
imagination." Robert A. Cassanova NIAC Director

The NIAC encourages potential proposers to focus their 
thoughts and stretch their imagination decades into the 
future in an aggressive pursuit of concepts that will "leap-
frog" the evolution of current aerospace systems and can be 
the framework for future NASA missions and programs.  While 
the NIAC seeks concepts that stretch the imagination, these 
concepts should be based on sound scientific principles. 

The NIAC advanced concept proposals should be aimed well 
beyond the evolution of technical approaches that occupy 
current programs and set new, revolutionary directions that 
can offer the prospect of significant and dramatic advances 
in aeronautics and space.  We are seeking advanced concepts, 
specifically systems and architectures, that are 
revolutionary, and which will expand our vision of future 
possibilities.  In the context of the NIAC requirements, 
successful proposals for advanced concepts will be:

      Revolutionary, new and not duplicative of previously 
studied concepts,
      An architecture or system,
      Described in a mission context,
      Adequately substantiated with a description of the 
scientific principles that form the basis for the concept,
      Largely independent of existing technology or a unique 
combination of systems and technologies.

The NIAC seeks proposals for advanced concepts that are 
appropriate for NASA missions.  The NASA Strategic Plan and 
NASA Enterprise Strategic Plans provide valuable background 
information about the visions of future aeronautics and 
space programs, and should be considered as a starting point 
for the development of revolutionary concepts being sought 
by the NIAC.  The proposer should become familiar with the 
information supplied in the NASA website,, which provides valuable insight into 
the NASA Mission, current activities and future directions.  
Briefly, the respective emphases of the NASA Enterprises are 
as follows:

Aero-Space Technology: To develop the technology for safe, 
environmentally friendly, and cost effective aviation and 
space transportation.

Human Exploration and Development of Space: To open the 
space frontier by exploring, using and enabling the 
development of space and to expand the human experience into 
the far reaches of space.

Space Science: To understand our cosmic origins and destiny 
through research from the middle levels of Earth's 
atmosphere to the edge of the Universe.

Earth Science: To understand the Earth's environment and the 
phenomena affecting the patterns of change.

3. Back to Menstrual Cycles
From: "Dr. Scott C. Smith"

I wonder if you can stand another response to Lynda 
Williams' question regarding the apparent connection between 
the lunar cycle and the human menstrual cycle.  (I realize 
that this is an old topic, but I'm just getting caught up on 
my reading and went through two months of CSWA newsletters.)  
I was surprised in reading the responses that, in a forum of 
astronomers, nobody touched on the argument (which can be 
found in most intro astro texts and some intro physics 
texts) that gravitational tidal effects are insignificant in 
humans.  The common, and fallacious, argument goes that we 
are mostly water and thus experience tides just like the 
oceans, when in fact we experience tides more like a 
bathtub, or similar sized body of water.  I won't repeat the 
full argument here, but suffice to say that, just as we do 
not observe high tides in our toilet bowls twice daily, 
neither do we observe tidal effects on our bodies.  (A 
similar, though distinct, argument against astrology 
involves calculating relative gravitational effects to show 
that the placement of personnel in the delivery room is more 
likely to have an effect on your personality than the 
relative position of the planets at the time of your birth.) 

If the connection cannot be gravitational, what other 
mechanism is there?  The nocturnal illumination theory 
mentioned by Maren Leyla Cooke seems the most promising 
explanation, if one is really required.  If that is the 
case, then we would presumably find that women in cultures 
that do not make widespread use of artificial lighting would 
still be in phase with the moon (an interesting research 
project for anyone who is interested). Personally, I am 
inclined to put it down to pure coincedence.  As evidence, 
the fact that menstrual cycles in other mammals, even those 
closely related to humans, do not share the same period.  If 
there was some causal relationship, you would expect that 
relationship to be shared by other species (and then the 
puzzle would be to explain the exceptions). 

4. Jobs
From: Mark Semon

Bates College would like to hire someone to teach 
Introductory Astronomy for the upcoming Fall semester.  
Teaching would include three hours of class meetings and two 
(three-hour) afternoon labs each week.  Our semester runs 
from September 4th to December 16th, 2000.

The pay for this position would be in the neighborhood of 
$13,000 - $15,000, depending upon the person's background 
and experience.  The Mathematics Department at Bates also 
has an opening for someone to teach Calculus during the Fall 
semester, and it might be possible for one person to fill 
both the Astronomy and Mathematics positions and thus 
increase their teaching load and salary.

Bates is 80 from Portsmouth, NH and 140 miles from 
Cambridge, MA.  The Astronomy course and its associated labs 
are taught Tuesday - Thursday, so it is possible for someone 
to commute from these (or other) locations.  In this case we 
would try to arrange local lodging for the least possible 

Our Introductory Astronomy course typically has an 
enrollment of about 60 students.

Persons interested in this position should contact Mark 
Semon, by email at ,
by phone, at
or by letter, at
Physics Dept., Bates College
44 Campus Ave.
Lewiston, ME  04240.

End of CSWA Newsletter of 3/15/2000