Astrosociology Research Institute (ARI)

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In Memoriam

Albert A. Harrison

1940 - 2015

Albert A. Harrison, Ph.D.

This tribute to an outstanding scholar and friend to this Institute and the supporters of astrosociology focuses on a man who helped set the stage for the founding of astrosociology. Moreover, this tribute serves as a resource to assist those who may wish to follow his example. Dr. Albert Harrison was a pioneer in the area of applying the social-scientific perspective to issues still dominated by the natural/physical sciences within the traditional space community. He was able to collaborate with that community, including with NASA, and add what he termed "the human dimension" to space education and research. As a social psychologist, Dr. Harrison was also extremely supportive of the idea of a multidisciplinary field focused on space issues from a social science perspective. Yet, as just indicated, he also strongly favored collaboration with the traditional space community, specifically those working in the STEM fields and disciplines, which largely consist of the "hard" sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In summary, then, he supported collaboration within the social sciences, humanities, and arts as well as collboration between the "hard" science and "soft" science branches of science. This has become a hallmark of the field of astrosociology.

Dr. Harrison was a supporter of this field from nearly the beginning of the time that the founder of astrosociology, Dr. Jim Pass, approached him following its introduction in 2004. He quickly became a friend to Dr. Pass and supporters of the movement who sought to develop astrosociology as an academic field. His participation provided a great sense of legitimacy to the field of astrosociology at an early and rather precarious stage in its development. Beyond that, his guidance helped to shape the course of astrosociology's development in ways that were both direct and indirect. Dr. Harrison's contributions have been invaluable.

Dr. Harrison also supported the idea of creating the Astrosociology Research Institute, which became a reality in 2008. He agreed to become an Advisor right away. As evident from his extensive research, as reflected in his history of scholarship in the references below, Dr. Harrison was one of the few social scientists working on space issues so ardently and for such a long time; in fact, for over thirty years. His work stands as one of the cornerstones in the foundation on which astrosociology was built. His work with NASA and other scientists, both in the social sciences and physical sciences, demonstrated early on that social scientists have much to contribute in areas related to space including astrobiology and SETI, human spaceflight, settlements, medical astrosociology, and planetary defense, among others. We intend to carry on with his vision and honor him in a variety of different ways. Watch for our announcements in the coming months. We invite interested individuals and organizations to join us.

A Short Biography (adapted from the About ARI page, originally submitted by Dr. Harrison)

Albert A. Harrison received his B.A. and M.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan.  In 1967, he joined the faculty of the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Davis, and in 1979 he advanced to Professor.  He was Professor Emeritus until his untimely death, and the author or co-author of approximately 100 papers in a wide range of journals, and his books include Living Aloft: Human Requirements for Extended Spaceflight (with Mary Connors and Faren Akins, NASA, 1985), From Antarctica to Outer Space: Life in Isolation and Confinement (with Yvonne A. Clearwater and Christopher P. McKay, Springer-Verlag, 1991), After Contact: The Human Response to Extraterrestrial Life (Plenum, 1997) and, Spacefaring: The Human Dimension (University of California Press, 2001).  His most recent book, Starstruck: Cosmic Visions in Science, Religion and Folklore (Berghahn, 2007) describes how rapidly accumulating scientific findings about our place in the universe are encouraging people to seek new answers to old existential questions.

Dr. Harrison was a member of NASA's Space Human Factors Engineering Science and Technology Working Group and of the Permanent SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Committee of the International Academy of Astronautics. In December, 2003, he was principal investigator of a NASA-sponsored conference on new directions in behavioral health, and edited a special supplement on this topic for Aviation, Space & Environmental Medicine (June, 2005). He was most recently involved in planetary defense (protecting the Earth from asteroids and comets) and was heavily involved in the International Academy of Astronautics' Space Architecture Study Group, seeking new approaches to human-centered design.

Dr. Harrison was a former deputy U.S. editor of Systems Research and Behavioral Science. [He also served on the Editorial Board for the first issue of The Journal of Astrosociology and also contributed an article].

Dr. Harrison's Scholarly Legacy (A Representative Sample of His Scholarship)

The student of astrosociology, regardless of age or experience, would do well to familiarize herself/himself with Dr. Harrison's academic writings. A few of them, indicated by red text, are available in the Virtual Library.

Please send us additional references by Dr. Harrison not included below to: message-at-astrosociology.org... Thank you!

Harrison, Albert A., and Connors, Mary M. (1984). "Groups in Exotic Environments." Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 18, pp. 49-87.

Connors, Mary M., Harrison, Albert A., and Akins, Faren R. (1985). Living Aloft: Human Requirements for Extended Spaceflight. (Washington, D.C.: NASA; Scientific and Technical Informational Branch.

Harrison, Albert A., and Elms, Alan C. (1990). "Psychology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence," Behavioral Science, Volume 35, pp. 207-218.

Harrison, Albert A., and Connors, Mary M. (1990). "Human Factors in Spacecraft Design." Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Volume 27, Number 5, pp. 478-481.

Harrison, Albert A., Clearwater, Yvonne A., and McKay, Christopher P. (1991). From Antarctica to Outer Space: Life in Isolation and Confinement. (New York: Springer-Verlag).

Harrison, Albert A. (1994). "Humanizing Outer Space: Some Suggestions for Metanation." Space Governance: The Journal of United Societies in Space (Conference Proceedings Excerpts), Volume 1, Number 2, pp. 11-13.

Harrison, Albert A. (1997). After Contact: The Human Response to Extraterrestrial Life. (New York: Plenum Press).

Harrison, Albert A., and Connell, Kathleen (eds.) (1999). Workshop on the Societal Implications of Astrobiology: Final Report. Ames Research Center: NASA Technical Memorandum. (Final Report revised on 01/20/2001). [Available in the Virtual Library].

Harrison, Albert A., and Johnson, Joel T. (2000). "ETI: Our First Impressions." Acta Astronautica, Volume 46, Issue 10-12, pp. 713-718.

Harrison, Albert A., and Dick, Steven J. (2000). Contact: Long-term implications for humanity. Section II in Allen Tough (ed.), When SETI succeeds: The impact of high information contact. (Bellevue, WA: Foundation for the Future), pp. 7-31.

Harrison, Albert A. (2000). "The Relatively Stability of Belligerent and Peaceful Societies: Implications for SETI." Acta Astronautica, Volume 46, Issues 10-12, pp. 707-712.

Harrison, Albert A. (2000). "Slow Track, Fast Track, and the 'Galactic Club'." Futures, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp. 569-579.

Harrison, Albert A. (2001). Spacefaring: The Human Dimension (University of California Press).

Harrison, Albert A., Connell, Kathleen, and Schmidt, G.K. (2002). "Rethinking Our Place in the Universe: Exploring the Societal Implications of NASA's Astrobiology Program," Space Times, Volume January-February, pp. 4-9.

Harrison, Albert A. (2003). "Confirmation of ETI: Initial Organizational Response." Acta Astronautica, Volume 53, Volume 3, pp. 229-236.

Harrison, Albert A. (Principal Investigator) (2004). New Directions in Behavioral Health: A Workshop Integrating Research and Application (Conference Report / NASA NAG 9-1572. (University of California, Davis).

Harrison, Albert A. (2005). "Behavioral Health: Integrating Research and Application in Support of Exploration Missions," Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine Volume 76, Number 6, Section II, p. B3.

Harrison, Albert A. (2005). Overcoming the Image of Little Green Men: Astrosociology and SETI. [Available in the Virtual Library].

Harrison, Albert A. (2007). Starstruck: Cosmic Visions in Science, Religion and Folklore. (New York: Berghahn, 2007).

Pass, Jim, and Harrison, Albert A. (2007). Shifting from Airports to Spaceports: An Astrosociological Model of Social Change toward Spacefaring Societies. [Available in the Virtual Library].

Harrison, Albert A. (2008). "Space Enterprise: Living and Working Offworld." Space Policy, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp. 56-57.

Harrison, Albert A. (2009). "The Future of SETI: Finite Effort or Search Without End?" Futures, Volume 41, Issue 8, pp. 554-561.

Harrison, Albert A., and Fiedler, Edna R. (2010). "Mars, Human Factors and Behavioral Health." Journal of Cosmology, Volume 12, pp. 3685-3693.

Harrison, Albert A. (2010). "Humanizing Outer Space: Architecture, Habitability, and Behavioral Health." Acta Astronautica, Volume 66, Issues 5-6, pp. 890-896.

Harrison, A. A. (2011). Fear, Pandemonium, Equanimity and Delight: Human Responses to Extra-Terrestrial Life. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, Volume 369, pp. 656-668.

Harrison, Albert A. (2011). "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence: Astrosociology and Cultural Aspects." Astropolitics: The International Journal of Space Politics & Policy (Special Issue: Astrosociology), Volume 9, Issue 1, pp. 63-83.

Harrison, Albert A., Fiedler, Edna R. (2011). "Introduction: Psychology and the U.S. Space Program." Chapter 1 in Vakoch, Douglas A. (ed.), Psychology of Space Exploration: Contemporary Research in Historical Perspective. (Washington, DC: NASA, Office of Communications, History Program Office), pp. 17-46.

Draguns, Juris G., and Harrison, Albert A. (2011). "Spaceflight and Cross-Cultural Psychology." Chapter 8 in Vakoch, Douglas A. (ed.), Psychology of Space Exploration: Contemporary Research in Historical Perspective. (Washington, DC: NASA, Office of Communications, History Program Office), pp. 177-194.

Harrison, Albert A. (2012). "The SETI Institute." Chapter 63 in William Sims Bainbridge (ed.), Leadership in Science and Technology: A Reference Handbook. (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.).

Race, Margaret, Denning, Kathryn, Bertka, Constance M., Dick, Steven J., Harrison, Albert A., Impey, Christopher, Mancinelli, Rocco, and Workshop Participants (2012). "Astrobiology and Society: Building an Interdisciplinary Research Community." Astrobiology, Volume 12, Number 10, pp. 958-965.

Harrison, Albert A. (2013). "Russian and American Cosmism: Religion, National Psyche, and Spaceflight." Astropolitics: The International Journal of Space Politics & Policy (Special Issue: Spaceflight and Religion), Volume 11, Issue 1-2, pp. 25-44.

Vakoch, Douglas A., and Harrison, Albert A. (eds.) (2011, 2013). Civilizations Beyond Earth: Extraterrestrial Life and Society. (New York: Berghahn).
       Harrison, Albert A., and Vakoch, Douglas A. "Introduction: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence as an Interdisciplinary Effort," pp. 1-30.
       Harrison, Albert A. "Chapter 8. The Science and Politics of SETI: How to Succeed in an Era of Make-Believe History and Pseudoscience," pp. 141-158.

Harrison, Albert A. (2014). "Speaking for Earth: Projecting Cultural Values Across Deep Space and Time." Chapter 11 in Douglas A. Vakoch, Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication. Washington, DC: NASA Office of Communications, Public Outreach Division, History Program Office), pp. 175-190.

Harrison, Albert A. (2015). "Astrobiology: Where Science Meets Humanistic Inquiry." Journal of Astrosociology, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp. 11-30. [Available in the Virtual Library].

Harrison, Albert A. (2015). "Encountering Extraterrestrial Intelligence." The Psychologist, Volume 28, pp. 816-819.

Harrison, Albert A. (forthcoming). "Coping with Doomsday: Astrosociology and Planetary Defense." Chapter in Launching Astrosociology. (Huntington Beach, CA: Astrosociology Research Institute Press.)

Pass, Jim, and Harrson, Albert A. (2016). "Astrosociology: Outer Space, the Convergence of the Social Sciences, and Beyond." Chapter 38 in Bainbridge, William Sims and Roco, Mihail C. (Eds.), Handbook of Science and Technology Convergence (pp. 545-558). (New York: Springer).

Pass, Jim, and Harrison, Albert A. (forthcoming). "Shifting from Space-Capable to Spacefaring Societies: Movement Along the Spacefaring Continuum toward a Theoretical Ideal Type." Launching Astrosociology. (Huntington Beach, CA: Astrosociology Research Institute Press).


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