The US acronymn EPO, which stands for Education and Public Outreach, sounds much better than the UK equivalent which is the Public Understanding of Science (PUS). Just what were we thinking in the UK?

On Monday and Wednesday I went to a few of the EPO talks and workshop, as that sort of thing interests me. Perhaps you've picked up on that. I've already mentioned the human orrery but I thought I should give a round-up of some of the other things mentioned.

One of the prize lectures on Wednesday was by Rosaly Lopez who works at JPL. She gave a talk encouraging more planetary scientists to get involved with EPO activities and even suggested half a dozen ways to go about doing it. She talked about how she has become a roll-model, in her native country of Venezuela, and how much enjoyment she gets from doing EPO activities, especially in schools. It was a very inspiring talk.

Moving on to an exciting event to put in your calendar if it isn't already. March 29th 2006 will be a total eclipse of the Sun. Although totality will only be visible across a swath of Africa and Turkey, most of Europe and Africa should get a partial eclipse. The event is being called Sun-Earth Day and NASA will be coordinating a worldwide set of observations so that school kids can do some real science. From what I can gather, they will be looking for contributions from amateur groups in as many places as possible. I've passed my email address on to a guy at NASA that is promoting it, so I'll let you all know more when I get the details.

After the EPO workshop I got talking to a member of the local amateur astronomy association in Cambridge. The CAA have around 700 members and do workshops every Wednesday. They also have fun kids sessions on Saturdays with all sorts of games. He tells me that astronomy PhD students in Cambridge have to give short talks to the public and these go down very well. Perhaps this should be encouraged in more places. He was very enthusiastic and we shared lots of ideas. He may even be able to fit me up with a spare telescope he has, as I don't have my own. That would be fantastic!

Stuart is at the Division for Planetary Sciences 2005 meeting in Cambridge, UK.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Friday 09th Sep 2005 (07:59 UTC) | Permalink
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