‘Are We Special?’ – Engaging the Public with Astronomy and Nature Education
Douglas N. Arion, PhD Director, Carthage Institute of Astronomy, Carthage College President, Galileoscope LLC
One of the reasons human culture thinks itself more important and more valuable than other life forms, and deserving of the use of any and all resources on Earth, is the disconnect between themselves and the greater Universe. Astronomy is the perfect mechanism to re-create that engagement, and to alter perspectives about mankind’s place in the ‘big picture’, eliciting changes in attitudes and behaviors. Since 2012 a large-scale education and outreach effort based on astronomy has been conducted in a partnership between Carthage College and the Appalachian Mountain Club, through which more than 35,000 members of the public have received programming, and undergraduate science students and AMC permanent and seasonal staff and volunteers have been trained in science communication skills. This presentation will discuss the methods by which we engage the public, the ‘messaging’ we aim to achieve, and fascinating examples of the linkages between astronomy science content and human existence.
Dr. Douglas Arion is Director of the Carthage Institute of Astronomy, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and Donald D. Hedberg Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Carthage College. He manages a partnership between Carthage and the Appalachian Mountain Club to offer astronomy programs and observing opportunities at AMC facilities and New Hampshire state parks, and operates telescopes at AMC’s lodges and high mountain huts. He is a Lifetime member of the International Dark Sky Association, and serves on both the American Astronomical Society and International Astronomical Union commissions on dark skies preservation. For the International Year of Astronomy-2009, he, along with Rick Fienberg, co-founded Galileoscope LLC to develop, manufacture, and distribute high quality low cost telescopes for worldwide promotion of science education and outreach. Arion is actively involved in promoting technology entrepreneurship education. He founded the ScienceWorks entrepreneurship program at Carthage in 1994, and supported the creation of the Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation.
Please join us for a pre-meeting dinner discussion at Changsho, 1712 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA at 6:00pm before the meeting.