Astronomers encounter a series of ethical dilemmas during their
careers that need to be resolved correctly if the integrity of the
field is to be preserved. These issues may arise while teaching,
conducting research, or leading large, long-term projects or missions.
The goal of this graduate seminar is to sharpen ethical reasoning,
knowledge, awareness and commitment by providing a fundamental
background in responsible conduct as a scientist. Among the topics
covered: (1) Mentoring, (2) Data management, (3) Peer review, (4)
Authorship, (5) Intellectual property, (6) Conflicts of interest and
commitment, (7) Research misconduct, (8) Dual use technologies,
and (9) Environmental and Cultural Impact.
Participants should expect weekly reading and writing assignments,
such as the analysis and development of case studies,
and plenty of opportunity for discussion. This seminar
also aims to disseminate our results more widely, such as
producing a draft code of ethics for the American Astronomical
For instructors interested in teaching a similar course in their department, I have prepared some instruction notes that may be helpful.