On light pollution, dark sites, and luminous artifacts

The International Dark Sky Places (IDSP) Program was founded in 2001 to encourage communities, parks, and protected areas around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting policies and public education. Light pollution is a macroscopic phenomenon which will transform the history of astronomy for the next generations. The sky has been gradually re-shaped by luminous objects set in orbit in the last century: satellites, planes, artifacts. How will our representation of the sky change as humans populate it with more and more luminous artifacts?

Luminous artifacts in the Universe: Reality or Fiction
Lecture with Kevin B. Marvel, American Astronomical Society
Friday, November 22, 7:30–9pm

Representing the Celestial
A movement workshop with Tom Di Liberto, Margot Greenlee, and Dance Exchange
Presented in partnership with the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences (CPNAS)
Saturday, November 23, 2–3:30pm
Note: The event will take place in the National Academy of Sciences' Great Hall

About the Participants

Kevin B. Marvel has served as the Executive Officer for the American Astronomical Society, the largest professional organization for researchers in astronomy and related disciplines, since July of 2006.  He began work with the AAS as Associate Executive Officer for Public Policy in 1998 establishing the Society’s public policy program becoming Deputy Executive Officer in 2003.  Before taking up a position with the American Astronomical Society in 1998 he served as a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology's (CALTECH’s) Owens Valley Radio Observatory. He received his Ph.D. in Astronomy in 1996 from New Mexico State University.


Margot Greenlee is a choreographer and nationally recognized as a master teaching artist. Margot brings her artistic team of professional performers and arts therapists to lead programs in educational, healthcare, and corporate settings. As an artist working at the intersection of art and advocacy, Greenlee had developed a new approach to civic engagement. PerForum (Performance + Civic Dialogue) is a way to become more curious and invested in important community issues. Using both theatrical elements and expert testimony, recent topics have focused on public health policies that impact families such as Food Equity, Accessibility & Inclusion, Immigrant Rights, and Sex Education. Current project partners include Dance Exchange, the Department of Education, the Eurasia Foundation, Fairfax County Department of Therapeutic Recreation, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. 

Tom Di Liberto is a climatologist and science communicator working as a federal contractor at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Program Office as the consulting climatologist for NOAA’s Climate.gov. Tom was named America’s first Scientist Idol in 2013 after winning a competition at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Since, he has given well-received, humorous, informal science talks on weather and climate across the US. In 2015 and 2016, he served as emcee of the Department of State’s U.S. Center at the United Nations climate change conferences COP21—where the Paris Agreement was forged—and COP22. As emcee, he helped lead the U.S. government’s public outreach space during the negotiations which included introducing and leading events with attendees including cabinet members, politicians, business leaders and scientists.

Dance Exchange supports creativity and builds community to deepen understanding of ourselves and the world we share. Fueled by generosity and curiosity, Dance Exchange expands who gets to dance, where dance happens, what dance is about, and why dance matters. For more than 43 years, Dance Exchange has collaborated across generations, disciplines, and communities to channel the power of dancemaking as a means for dialogue, a source of critical reflection, and a creative engine for thought and action. Founded in 1976 by Liz Lerman and under the artistic direction of Cassie Meador since 2011, Dance Exchange is a non-profit dance organization based in Takoma Park, Maryland. 



NATURA NATURANS is an artist-driven educational experiment that consists of lectures, workshops, field trips, and an exhibition exploring our changing understanding of nature in the Anthropocene. Curated by the artist Anne-Sophie Coiffet, who divides her time between DC and Paris, this twelve-week project examines topics as varied and interrelated as the co-mingling of natural and human objects and systems, securing legal status for ecosystems, silent places and acoustical trash, genetically modified crops and butterflies, space junk and oceanic micro-plastic, and more. 


WPA & National Academy of Sciences' Great Hall


November 22–23, 2019