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Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology

DEADLINE: extended to December 17
APPLICATION FORM: Download Application [MSWord]


Established in the fall of 2011, the Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology is a distinguished senior position whose holder will undertake sustained research at the intersection between the science of astrobiology and its humanistic aspects, particularly its societal implications. More information on this opportunity is available in the press release announcing the establishment of this Chair.

Eligibility and Expectations

The NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology is open to persons of any nationality.  This is a residential fellowship, and the Chair is expected to be in full-time residence (for up to 12 months) at the Kluge Center within the Library of Congress while conducting research at the Library.  The Chair holder will be provided with research space and support in the Kluge Center and is expected to engage in the life of the Center while in residence.

Using research facilities and services at the Library of Congress, the holder of the Astrobiology Chair is expected to engage in research and to give at least one public presentation at the Library for the Washington, D.C. area.

Additional Activities

Additionally, in order to provide an opportunity for the questions raised by astrobiology to achieve greater public visibility, the Chair holder will organize workshops, symposia, small conferences or other activities that engage the broader academic community and the public. The Chair will be responsible for the intellectual content of such events; the Kluge Center will provide guidance and logistical support. See below, under Application, for more details.

Selection Process and Tenure

The Astrobiology Chair holder will be appointed on an annual basis by the Librarian of Congress on the recommendation of a selection committee consisting of representatives from the academic community jointly selected by NASA and the Library of Congress. The stipend will be $13,500 per month for an appointment of up to 12 months.


This Chair was established through an interagency agreement with NASA, which provides the funding.  Execution of the agreement is with the Kluge Center in consultation with the NASA Astrobiology Institute.


Applications require a single-paragraph summary of the proposed research, a statement of the proposed research project (no more than seven double-spaced pages), an indication of the kinds of materials at the Library of Congress that will be of use in the research, a curriculum vitae demonstrating evidence of prior scholarly work and publication, and three letters of recommendation from colleagues, administrators, employers, and others having knowledge of the applicant's project and scholarship.

Applicants should also include as part of their proposal detailed plans and a budget (no more than three pages) for such auxiliary activities as workshops, symposia, or small conferences, explaining how these activities would support the research and/or contribute to any public presentation of the human implications of astrobiology.  

For purposes of contemplating budgets for such activities, here are some relevant costs and fees associated with these kinds of events held at the Library.  These are only base figures to help applicants in thinking about the details of such auxiliary activities:

  • The Library of Congress can accommodate conferences and small workshops up to about 180 people and lectures up to 480.
  • There is no charge for use of the rooms by a scholar associated with the Kluge Center.
  • A small event for 25 people for one day (approximately 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), with continental breakfast and a lunch, ranges from $1,350 - $1,800. 
  • A two-day event, not including dinner, would be approximately double that for one day.
  • If any given day’s small event for 25 people included dinner, it would add approximately $3,500 - $4,000 to the cost at the Library because of attendant overtime costs associated with Library guards and Capitol Hill police. These dinners can usually be done less expensively off-site. 
  • Costs for meals for additional people for any given event would run as follows: continental breakfast, $5 to $7 per person; lunch, $20 to $25; and dinner, $50 to $100.

Completed applications and supporting material should be submitted no later than December 17.  A signed original and six hard copies of all materials should be sent via a carrier that provides tracking capacity to:

Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology
Kluge Center/Office of Scholarly Programs
Library of Congress LJ-120
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington, DC  20540-4860

Contact Information

Questions regarding this new opportunity should be directed to Carolyn Brown, Director of the Kluge Center/Office of Scholarly Programs, at scholarly@loc.gov with the subject line “Astrobiology Chair,” or by fax to (202) 707-3595.

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