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Black Sky

Shannon Sylvie Abelson                                                                     Download C.V. here


Stanford University

McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society

Doerr School of Sustainability

559 Nathan Abbott Way

Crown Building, 3rd Fl.

Stanford, CA 94305

Current Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University                                                            2023-present  McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society/ 

Doerr School for Sustainability


Associate Member, NANOGrav                                                                                                            2022-present

Member, Next Generation Event Horizon Telescope                                                                       2023-present

Co-Lead, Responsible Siting Group

Research Affiliate, Center for Space Governance                                                                                             2023



                   PhD Philosophy                                                                      Indiana University, Bloomington, 2023

              Minor: History and Philosophy of Science 


Graduate Certificate, Astronomy                                                              Swinburne University, 2021

         Master of Arts Philosophy                                                                                         Virginia Tech, 2015

Bachelor of Arts Philosophy, German                                                           Stetson University, 2013

Magna Cum Laude

Minor in History


AOS: Philosophy of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Space Environmentalism,  Environmental Philosophy

AOC: Philosophy of Climate Science, General Philosophy of Science, Epistemology of Science









  • 7th Annual Black Hole Initiative Conference                                                              May 29, 2024

HPC Workshop​​

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

"Informed Consent and Responsible Telescope Siting"

  • American Philosophical Association- Pacific Division.                                    March 20-23, 2024

                        Philosophy of Physics Society

                        Portland, OR

                        "Mechanistic Evidence and the NANOGrav 15-Year Dataset"

  • 10th Annual Space Traffic Management Conference                                   February 27-28, 2024

Strauss Center, University of Texas, Austin

Austin, TX

"Quiet Skies and the Future of Satellite Constellations"

  • Stanford University Political Theory Workshop                                                October 6th, 2023

​                          Stanford, CA

                          "Contractualism and Space Governance"​​

  • 9th Annual Space Traffic Management Conference                                             March 1-2, 2023

        University of Texas, Austin, Strauss Center 

        ​"Attribution of Environmental Impact from Space Traffic: Challenges and

         Lessons from Climate Change Attribution"


  • PHEP 2022: Early Career Conference in Philosophy of                                  March 26-27, 2022

Particle & High Energy Physics

Pittsburgh, PA

"Simulation and Experiment Revisted"

  • der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft/ German                                            March 21, 2022

Physical Society

AGPhil: Working Group in Philosophy of Physics

Heidelberg, Germany (online)

"Holistic Eliminative Reasoning for Astronomy and Astrophysics"


  • Black Hole Initiative, Colloquium Series ​​                                                                 March 14, 2022

Harvard University, Boston, MA

"Eliminitive Reasoning in Astronomy and Astrophysics"

  • 2022 American Philosophical Association- Central Division                    February 23-26, 2022

Chicago, IL

"Simulation and Experiment Revisited: The Importance of Time in Astronomical Simulation" 

  • Indiana Philosophical Association                                                                    November 13, 2021  

                           “The Fate of Tensor-Vector-Scalar Alternative Gravity”

  • Lichtenberg Group for History and Philosophy of Physics                                     April 27, 2021

University of Bonn

“The Fate of Tensor-Vector-Scalar Alternative Gravity

  • 2020/2021 Philosophy of Science Association Meeting                            November 2020/2021

Poster Forum, Baltimore, MD            

“Reducing Uncertainty in Multimessenger Astronomy 

Using Simulation”

  • 2020 Nelson Dissertation Fellowship Lecture                                                 September 18, 2020

Indiana University Bloomington 

“Variety of Evidence in Multimessenger Astronomy”

  • 8th Integrated History and Philosophy of Science Conference (&HPS8)

Arlington, VA                                                                                                            July 15-17, 2020

“Testing Modified Models of Gravity”

Moved to Asynchronous due to Covid-19

  • Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice, East Lansing, MI                           July 7-10, 2020

“Variety of Evidence in Multimessenger Astronomy”

Cancelled due to Covid-19

  • American Association of Philosophy Teachers/ APA Central Meeting 2020 

Teaching Hub Poster Forum                                                                           February 28, 2020                        

“Teaching Climate Ethics Using a Model Climate Forum”           


  • IU History and Philosophy of Science Fall Forum

“Testing Modified Gravity Models”                                                              November 29, 2018

  • History of Science Society Annual Meeting, Toronto, ON                            November 10, 2017

“Einstein And the Michelson-Morley Experiment: 

The Context of Justification Revisited”

  • Thirteenth Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop at Notre Dame                     July 8, 2017

“Explanation and Unification: A Closer Look at Aristotle’s 

 Astronomical Model”

  • Arizona State University Graduate Philosophy Conference                               February 4, 2017

“Moritz Schlick on Confirmation, Observation, and Conceptual



Works in Progress

  • Eliminative Reasoning in Astronomy and Astrophysics (under review)

  • Machine Learning for Data-Driven Astronomy (manuscript)

  • Contractualism and Space Governance

  • Mechanical Evidence and the NANOGrav 15-Year Dataset

  • Why Space is an Environment

  • Informed Consent and Responisble Telescope Siting

           All manuscripts available upon request. 

Professional Development and Professional Experience

  • Representative, Philosophy Department Climate Committee                                     2021-2023

  • Certificate, R Programming                                                                                            August 2020

  • 2020 Indiana Black Expo Education Conference                                                  July 14-16, 2020

  • Referee, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics                                     July 2019

  • Chair, session on “Models in Science”                                                              November 5th, 2018

2019 Philosophy of Science Association Meeting 

  • Co-President, Virginia Tech Graduate Philosophy Club                          Fall 2014- Spring 2015 

Planned and organized the department’s annual graduate conference.

  • Commenter, Virginia Tech Graduate Conference on Pragmatism           November 15th, 2014

Commentary given on “The Meaning Entitlement Connection

and the Problem of Slurs,” by Amanda McMullen.

  • Philosophy Department Delegate 

Virginia Tech Graduate Assembly                                                            Fall 2013- Spring 2014

Awards and Grants:

  • President’s Diversity Dissertation Fellowship                                                                  2021-2022

  • Ewing Graduate Essay Prize                                                                                                          2021

  • James B. Nelson Dissertation Fellowship                                                                         2019- 2020

  • Bo and Lynn Clark Graduate Essay Prize                                                                                    2017

  • Academic Excellence Award, Indiana University                                                                       2016

  • Phi Beta Kappa, National Academic Honor Society                                      March 2014- present

  • College of Arts and Sciences Fellowship, Indiana University                   Fall 2015- Spring 2016

  • Marjorie Grene Prize in Philosophy, Virginia Tech                                                                   2015

  • Ronald L. and Margaret Smith Hall Philosophy Award                                                            2013

  • Omicron Delta Kappa, National Leadership Honors Society                                  2013- present


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