Public Science: Taking Astronomy to the People
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Public Science: Taking Astronomy to the People

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Public Science: science outreach that has been conducted outdoors or in another type of public or accessible space such as a public park, metro stop, library etc. with the intention of engaging the ...

Public Science: science outreach that has been conducted outdoors or in another type of public or accessible space such as a public park, metro stop, library etc. with the intention of engaging the public

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  • We all have heard of public art and have seen it many times. Some of the most famous examples around the world include …
  • Using this definition, we can go back and identify many projects that could arguably be considered public science. Here are some of our favorites. SC: ran from June 1994 through May 1995. Created by organizers from the New York Hall of Science, "Science City" was an outdoor exhibition that utilized the street, fences, buildings and other public structures in New York City to attract the "non-museum-going" public to the science in everyday life; For SB, city buses were decorated with large informational science posters inside or outside, taking science concepts outside museum and planetarium walls; Other sci festivals include San Diego, Philadelphia, SF
  • Music: a NASA-funded that supports astronomy programs at outdoor music festivals; VSS: a project from the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE), has installed scaled replicas of the major bodies of the Solar System in several U.S. cities (including Washington, D.C., and Houston, TX) with others planned (Des Moines, IA, Orlando, FL, and Baltimore, MD, for example).
  • This is how KKA and I got started in this area. FETTU was a grassroots project that created a digital repository of astronomical images that local organizers were then encouraged to use to make their own exhibits. The results were inspiring.
  • Chicago and Atlanta airports: millions of people saw the images – they are still there. Scores of versions of FETTU in Brazil. Here in China, featured outside the Beijing Planetarium (?).
  • FETTSS is tied to NASA’s Year of the Solar System that runs from October 2010 through August 2012.
  • FETTSS is tied to NASA’s Year of the Solar System that runs from October 2010 through August 2012.

Public Science: Taking Astronomy to the People Public Science: Taking Astronomy to the People Presentation Transcript

  • Public Science: Taking Astronomy to the People
  • Public Science
    • Definition
    • First, what is “public art”?
    • “ artwork that has been planned and executed with the specific intention of being sited or staged in the physical public domain, usually outside and accessible to all.”
    • Why not have an equivalent for science?
    • Therefore, we define “public science” to be:
    • “ science outreach that has been conducted outdoors or in another type of public or accessible space such as a public park, metro stop, library etc. with the intention of engaging the public.”
    Public Science
  • Past Examples of Public Science
    • Science City (New York: 1994-1995)
    • Science on the Buses (UK, Canada, others)
    • Science Festivals:
      • Long tradition of these in European & other countries.
      • US catching on: USA Science & Engineering Festival, World Science Festival, etc.
  • Astronomy and Public Science
      • In the US:
      • Music Under the Stars
      • Voyage to the Solar System
      • IYA activities
      • General astronomy outreach: star parties, sidewalk astronomers, etc.
  • From Earth to the Universe
    • “ From Earth to the Universe” (FETTU)
      • www.fromearthtotheuniverse.org
      • IYA 2009 cornerstone project
      • Unique model for astronomy outreach:
        • Distributed Curation
        • Global to Local Methodology
  • From Earth to the Universe
      • Results were inspiring: over 1000 locations in over 70 countries (text translated into over 40 languages.)
  • Current Steps: FETTSS
    • “ From Earth to the Solar System” (FETTSS)
      • Collaboration with our group (CXC/SAO) and NASA’s Astrobiology Institute
      • A collection of 90 images that cover astronomy, astrobiology, and planetary science
      • In US, traveling version to visit > a dozen sites
      • So far, ~50 FETTSS sites worldwide
      • http://fettss.arc.nasa.gov/
  • Current Steps: FETTSS
    • What we’re researching in FETTSS & beyond
      • Who are we attracting in these “everyday situations”?
        • More incidental visitors than intentional visitors with public science?
        • Less-science-initiated audience than science centers/planetariums?
      • Do any participants follow up with local science center, library or other resources?
      • Is there any reshaping of the participant’s identity (or non-identity) with science through public science?
  • Current Steps: A&A
    • Simultaneously, continuing research on public understanding of astronomy images with Aesthetics & Astronomy project.
      • Papers/articles at http://astroart.cfa.harvard.edu/
    • Latest data analysis includes evidence for understanding the effectiveness of an astronomy exhibition in terms of gauging how much visitors have learned;  what type of story format may be best for engaging the visitor/participant learning; and what type of platform may be best for implementation.
      • To be submitted, Curator
  • Coming Soon: HTE
    • “ Here, There, & Everywhere” (HTE)
      • Funding secured through NASA
      • Compares phenomena on Earth to those in space
      • Capitalize on eye-catching visuals (FETTU) with the power of analogy in public spaces (libraries, malls, etc) and small science centers.
      • First exhibits expected in late spring 2012
  • Coming Soon: HTE
  • Interested in Public Science?
    • Sign up to host a FETTU or FETTSS exhibit
    • Contribute to the “public science” entry on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_science
    • Join in & volunteer for the Science Communication journal club http://scicommjc.wordpress.com/
    • Arcand, K.K., Watzke, M., “Creating Public Science with the From Earth to the Universe Project” Science Communication. Vol 33(3) 398–407, Sept. 2011.
      • [email_address] (@kimberlykowal)
      • [email_address]