The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) is greatly concerned by the Executive Order announced last week by US President Donald Trump, which prevents people from seven Middle Eastern and African countries from entering the United States.
As an international scientific organisation, the Society recognises and fully supports the need for the astronomers, space scientists and geophysicists that we represent to travel in pursuit of their work. The ban hinders researchers from sharing their work with their peers, a fundamental tenet of scientific endeavour. It has already affected scientists working in the US, and those who planned to travel there, including people based in the UK. The restrictions threaten to damage collaboration between the US and nations around the world.
The RAS also stresses its continuing commitment to equality and diversity in science, and firmly opposes discrimination on the grounds of religious faith, ethnic origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
The Society therefore offers its full support to those astronomers, space scientists and geophysicists affected by this ban. We urge the government of the United Kingdom to make the strongest possible representations to the US on this issue, and to work to mitigate its impact.
Dr Robert Massey
Royal Astronomical Society
Tel: +44 (0)20 7292 3979
Mob: +44 (0)7802 877699
Notes for editors
The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS, http://www.ras.org.uk), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organises scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognises outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally. Its more than 4,000 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.
Dr Robert Massey