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Royal Astronomical Society Reverses Course in Policies Toward James Webb Space Telescope

Royal Astronomical Society Reverses Course in Policies Toward James Webb Space Telescope

A win for science and free speech.

The James Webb Space Telescope was named after a government bureaucrat who served as the second administrator of NASA during the 1960s.

Gender justice opponents of the name argue that Webb persecuted people known or suspected to belong to the LGBTQ+ community.

However, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) seriously investigated the allegations and concluded there was no reason for a name change. The charges against Webb were baseless.

Activists persisted and even targeted Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, a famous American astrophysicist and author of some of the most popular children’s books on science. Oluseyi is also the president of the National Society of Black Physicists.

After his research into James Webb’s professional history, Oluseyi wrote a detailed account of his investigation, concluding that Webb’s accusers failed to be rigorous in their research in attempting to tie him to the “Lavender Scare,” which was similar to the Red Scare. But instead of Communists, it targeted homosexuals. His analysis is brilliant and damning to everyone who has mindlessly called for renaming the space telescope.

Now professional astronomical organizations are coming to the same conclusion as NASA and Oluseyi.

The Royal Astronomical Society has reversed its position on scientists mentioning the James Webb Space Telescope by name.

NASA has now published the findings of an investigation into Webb by its official historian.

The [Royal Astronomical] Society welcomes this report, and notes that it finds no evidence that Webb took an active part in the ‘Lavender Scare’, the purges of gay men from the United States federal workforce in the 1940s and 1950s. NASA has also written to our sister organisation, the American Astronomical Society, stating that it will update its process for naming missions and buildings, which we also welcome in line with our earlier call for a more transparent approach.

In the light of this, the RAS will now allow authors submitting scientific papers to its journals to use either James Webb Space Telescope or the acronym JWST to refer to the observatory, should they wish to do so. Authors can spell out the acronym at first mention if they wish.

It’s a win for both science and free speech.

Meanwhile, scientists have just announced that they’ve detected what might be some of the earliest galaxies to form in the universe via the space telescope.

“This is the first large sample of candidate galaxies beyond the reach of the Hubble Space Telescope,” astronomer Haojing Yan said yesterday at a press conference at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle. Yan, who is at the University of Missouri, led the newly published study.

Because the more sensitive JWST can see further into deep space than its predecessor Hubble does, it essentially sees further back in time. In the new catalog of 87 galaxies astronomers have spotted using it, some could date back to about 13.6 billion years ago, just 200 million years after the Big Bang. That’s when the galaxies emitted the light that we’re seeing today—although those systems of stars, gas, and dust would have changed dramatically since then, if they still exist at all.

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Comments

It’s all misguided.

Webb is honored for whatever he’s being honored for, not for being a nice guy. He can be a nice guy or not, it doesn’t matter.

It’s too far out in space for Antifa to pull it down with ropes or spray paint graffiti on the side.

How can we be so careless in dismissing the concerns of our diversity masters when no one has taken the time to investigate the kinds of shirts Webb wore during his lifetime?

Just re-name the telescope after a black woman and be done with it.

People who live in glass houses…. Let the feminist, BLM or ANTIFA member, LGBTQ+ member, etc., who has never ever said anything bad about anyone be the person to continue pushing for this or any other name change.

If the James Webb Space Telescope is that truly far-sighted, perhaps it’ll be able to give us further insight into deep motivations of the LGBTQ+ community.

Strange that the Q stands for queer, but if you call them that it’s a hate crime.

None of the see the irony involved in creating a taboo in which a telescope Dare Not Speak Its Name.

With the Webb telescope you can see back in time before wokeness.

    DaveGinOly in reply to rhhardin. | January 12, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    Imagine how disappointed photons must be to travel all that distance for billions of years only to land here, now.

BierceAmbrose | January 11, 2023 at 5:38 pm

But are everybody’s t-shirts acceptable?