Monday 4 November 2013

Astronomy Outreach News Update

The astrodome school visits are managed by Dr. Sadie Jones and a team of Postgraduate and Undergraduate astronomy students. The PhD (awesome team members) who started in Oct 2012 students have really risen to the challenge of working with the dome over the last year, these are Rob Firth, Sam Connolly, Poppy Martin, James Matthews, Juan Hernandez, Chris Risely and Aarran Shaw. Undergrad ‘Super woman’ Cait Percy and now astronomy PhD student (and also SET Physics Student of the Year) Chris Frohmaier are helping lead on many astrodome visits despite all their other outreach events.
The undergrads that work with the dome are Jen Allerton, Christine McCollough, Ryan Wood, Laura Crawford, Ben Turnbridge, Paul Wright. 

This year we said goodbye to PhD students Liz Bartlett and Seb Drave from the astrodome team as they got jobs in South Africa and London respectively and undergrad Olivia Keenan who got an astronomy PhD at Cardiff University. Also, Ridwan Barbhuiyan left the awesome team to study for a PGCE as a Physics teacher, he will no doubt continue to inspire the children of tomorrow in all that is great about Physics.

We recently (Oct 2013) trained up 4 new PhD students and 7 undergrads on campus and we are all very excited for when they start their on the job training out in schools soon. If you want to join the team there is always the opportunity to train on the job out at a school, just email Sadie to get more information on school dates.

In the first 2 years the ‘Soton Astrodome’ team have taken the mobile planetarium into over 80 local schools working with Primary students right the way through to A-level. All shows are presenter led and not only allow the students to learn about physics and astronomy in an immersive environment, but they also get to meet a real scientist/astronomer and ask questions about the show and the cutting edge research of the presenting astronomer.

At present over 16,000 students and members of the general public have participated in astronomy outreach events managed by Dr Sadie Jones, this includes our annual stargazing live events on campus every January.

This year our Stargazing event will be on the evening of the 9th January, this is a free event open to the public. We are also aiming to have a campus event celebrating female astronomers on International Womans day on Saturday 8th March. For more information on volunteering to help with these events or to book tickets see Sadie’s website, or tweet Sadie @SotonAstrodome

 Astronomy Spectrum Stand

Dr Sadie Jones, Chris Frohmaier, Cait Percy and Dr Mari Kolehmainen worked on an astronomy stand showcasing UoS astronomy research with the UoS Roadshow at both Cheltenham Science Festival in July 2013 and Bestival in September 2013.. We discussed how astronomers use the electromagnetic spectrum to see our universe with over 1,500 members of the general public across the 2 events. The main focus of the stand was the INTEGRAL gamma ray telescope.

Other opportunities working with the UoS Roadshow are expected in March at the Big Bang fair, please email Sadie for more information on how you can get involved.

Southampton Ogden Trust Schools Partnership

We have several events coming up, in partnership with 6 teachers at local schools, King Edwards, St Annes, Cantell, Burgate, Oaklands and Brookefield through the Ogden Trust Southampton Schools Physics Partnership. The first event is aimed at GCSE and A-level students, and is a lecture on Fusion by Dr Melanie Windridge. Other events include Starchaser rocket launching day 7th Feb 2014 for year 8 and 9 and a Physics Olympics event in March 2014.

Science on the radio

Dr Sadie Jones is the science correspondent on BBC Solent on Sunday Mornings at 9.30am where she talks about 3 current science stories with presenter Nick Girdler. Also outreach extraordinaires Chris Frohmaier and Cait Percy present  ‘Science Hour’ on the University station, Surge Radio, every Thursday at 5pm. For more information on these shows see the astrodome website.

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