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Science Education and Outreach: Forging a Path to the Future

Special Events

We have lined up some special events during the Conference period. Please see each individual event for details and requirements.

SETI SUNDAY: A SETI Institute Speakers Series
Sunday, September 13, 2009
1:00 - 5:00 pm
Sequoia Ballroom

Expand your mind and your perspective with an afternoon of thought-provoking talks by scientists and researchers from the SETI Institute, from 1-5 pm. The event will be MC-ed by Mr. Tom Pierson, CEO of the SETI Institute.

1 pm: Finding a Home for ET: The Kepler Mission
Dr. Douglas Caldwell, Instrument Scientist, Kepler Mission
Kepler is the first NASA mission that is capable of finding Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of Sun-like stars. Caldwell will share his personal and scientific thoughts on the Kepler Mission and share some of the exciting initial data that has arrived.

1:55 pm: The Real ET
Dr. Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer, SETI Institute
New technologies may confirm the existence of intelligence elsewhere within two decades. In case of contact, one of the first things we'll want to know is: what are the aliens like? Dr. Shostak will discuss why even speculating about the construction and lifestyle of extraterrestrials -- long before we've found them -- could be important in shaping a productive SETI strategy.

2:50 pm: Break

3 pm: Discovering ET: What's Next?
Dr. Margaret Race, Principal Investigator, Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe
ET may be found through interception of signals from alien civilizations, or discovered under a microscope examining Martian soil. In either case, what are the scientific and ethical outcomes of discovering alien life? Race will discuss her work in planetary protection, societal issues and ethics when dealing with ET.

3:55 pm: Reflections on the Drake Equation
Dr. Frank Drake, Director of the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe
Dr. Drake, who wrote the Drake Equation 50 years ago to calculate the potential for inhabitable planets with possibly intelligent communicative species, will share his thoughts on the equation: what have we discovered, and what mysteries remain to explore?

Note: ASP Conference registrants, SETI Members, ASP members, Sunday workshop attendees, and AANC meeting attendees (with registration badges) are admitted to the talks at no additional charge.

Annual Members Meeting
Sunday, September 13, 2009
5:30 - 6:15 pm
Oak Room

Free to all ASP Members. No registration to the ASP Conference is necessary.

Opening Reception
Sunday, September 13, 2009
6:30 - 9:00 pm
Westin Ballroom

Conference attendees are invited to our opening reception at the hotel featuring a preview of our exhibitors and lots of food.The reception will feature a screening of the film "Inspire Me!" from Brad McLain of the Space Science Institute following the adventures of a group of teachers experiencing the weightless "flights of discovery" program.

Opening Keynote Address
Monday, September 14, 2009
8:00 - 9:30 am
Sequoia Ballroom

Planck scientist Bruce Partridge of Haverford College, astrophysicist Lynne Hillenbrand of Caltech, and astrobiologist David Grinspoon of the Denver Museum of Nature and History will open the conference with a joint keynote address chronicling the significance of 400 years of scientific advancement to launch the meeting in this International Year of Astronomy and Year of Science.

NASA Town Hall Meeting
Monday, September 14, 2009
5:15 - 7:00 pm
Sequoia Ballroom

The NASA Science Mission Directorate will host a NASA Town Hall, hosted by SMD EPO Lead Stephanie Stockman, to include information on its new Science Education and Public Outreach Forums (SEPOFs).

Public Talk by Dr. John M. Grunsfeld, NASA
Rescuing Hubble: An Astronaut's Adventures in Space
Monday, September 14, 2009
7:30 pm
Sequoia Ballroom

John GrunsfeldIn May, 2009, NASA astronaut John Grunsfeld made his fifth space shuttle flight and third visit to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) as part of the STS-125 mission aboard shuttle Atlantis. During the mission, Dr. Grunsfeld performed three of the mission's five space walks that installed two new instruments, repaired two others, and outfitted the HST with new batteries, gyroscopes, fine guidance sensors and thermal blankets. Dr. Grunsfeld will share his and his crewmates' adventures in this final mission to the HST, offering his insights on the challenges and successes of the mission and what it means for the HST and our continued explorations of the universe.

Dr. John Grunsfeld received his bachelor of science degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his master of science and PhD. degrees in physics from the University of Chicago. Specializing in x-ray and gamma ray astronomy research, high–energy cosmic ray studies, and the development of new detectors and instrumentation, he held several academic positions including Senior Research Fellow at the California Institute of Technology prior to his selection as astronaut in 1992. Between 1995 and 2009, Dr. Grunsfeld flew five shuttle missions, including a 16-day mission of ultraviolet observations with the Astro observatory, the fifth mission to the Russian Mir space station, and three servicing missions to the Hubble Space Telescope, including the final servicing mission in 2009. He also served as NASA Chief Scientist in 2003–4. Dr. Grunsfeld has logged more than 58 days in space, and 58 hours and 30 minutes of extravehicular activity in eight space walks.

2009 ASP Awards Banquet
Tuesday September 15, 2009
Bayshore Ballroom

Co-sponsored with California Space Grant Consortium and Capitol College

Bruce MedalThe ASP will present this year's awards at the Society's Annual Meeting Awards Banquet at the Westin SFO in Millbrae, Tuesday, Seotember 15, 2009. The annual ASP awards, including the prestigious Bruce Medal, recognize meritorious work by professional and amateur astronomers, science educators, and those who engage in public outreach. Find out more about the 2009 award winners including Dr. Frank Shu, the Bruce Gold Medalist. Conference attendance is not required, however you will need to purchase a ticket to attend this banquet. Tickets will be available to purchase onsite until end of day September 14.

Reception 6:30pm
Sit-down Dinner 7:30pm
Fee: $65

Plenary Panel Sessions
September 14-16, 2009
Sequoia Ballroom

Monday, September 14, 2009
1:30 - 3:00 pm

Collaboration Across the Sciences: How Can We Improve Our Practice and Prepare the Future Workforce?

David Grinspoon, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, moderator
Emily CoBabe-Ammann, Emily A. CoBabe & Associates, panelist
Pamela Harman, SETI Institute, panelist
Edward E. Prather, Center for Astronomy Education, University of Arizona, panelist

In the pursuit of scientific knowledge, not only do techniques and instrumentation continually change, the quality of questions being asked also evolves. Age old questions such as "are we alone?" as well as new problems such as global climate change require multi/interdisciplinary perspectives and collaboration, pushing scientists to explore between the specializations. What skills will our students need to function in this emerging paradigm? How should our work as EPO practitioners reflect this when so much of the educational landscape is mired in specialized, standardized testing? Are there benefits and tradeoffs in contextualized learning? What are lessons learned so far? Think about it and come share.

Session Goals:

  • Introduce the growing multi-disciplinary nature of science.
  • Provide a framework for general EPO sessions later in conference.
  • Discuss educational theory as needed.
  • Elicit ideas for professional development of EPO professionals.

David Grinspoon is a planetary scientist specializing in the evolution of planetary surfaces, atmospheres and habitability. He is Curator of Astrobiology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and Adjunct Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Science at the University of Colorado. David is author of Venus Revealed and the award-winning Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life. He was awarded the 2006 Carl Sagan Medal for Public Communication of Planetary Science by the American Astronomical Society.

Emily CoBabe-Ammann is Executive Director of Emily A. CoBabe & Associates, a non-profit education management and consulting group. She is currently the higher education lead for two NASA Science Mission Directorate Science Education and Public Outreach Forums, as well as co-investigator on the CU-Boulder-based Colorado Center for Lunar Dust and Atmospheric Studies, a NASA Lunar Science Institute node. She has recently appeared before the NRC Panel on Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration.

Pamela Harman is the Education and Outreach Manager at the SETI Institute, where she combines her background in engineering and high school classroom teaching. Pamela leads the Astrobiology Summer Science Experience for Teachers (ASSET) at the SETI Institute, has served on a county-wide biotech education steering committee, and written and piloted material for the Voyages Through Time science curriculum. Her contributions to professional development workshops and short courses reflect a passion for research on learning and education standards.

Edward E. Prather is an Associate Staff Scientist with Steward Observatory and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. He is Executive Director of the NASA and NSF funded Center for Astronomy Education (CAE) at the University of Arizona. CAE has created a national collaboration of astronomy faculty, post-docs, graduate and undergrad students who are actively engaged in conducting fundamental research on core issues related to the teaching and learning of Astro-101 and other STEM topics.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009
8:00 - 9:30 am

The International Year of Astronomy: Can We Keep the Party Going?

Paul Knappenberger, Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, moderator
Doris Daou, NASA Lunar Science Institute, panelist
Stephen Pompea, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, panelist
Deborah Scherrer, Stanford University, panelist

The International Year of Astronomy has fostered significant grass-roots efforts on the part of the EPO, science, and amateur communities in spite of paralleling the worst economic crisis in decades. Is it over on December 31? Did we "win?" What have we learned from IYA and other international years? Can we keep the momentum going? How do we keep the momentum going? How do we assess the effort and the results? What worked and what didn't? How do we keep astronomy education and outreach relevant in an age of foreclosures and job layoffs? WWGD? ("What would Galileo do?") Join the discussion as we look forward.

Session Goals:

  • Keeping the IYA momentum high.
  • Provide a framework for later IYA sessions.
  • Begin to conceptualize IYA's legacy in 2010 and beyond.
  • Begin the reflection on IYA to inform later EPO efforts.

Paul Knappenberger is President of Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum in Chicago, America's first planetarium and home of the Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass exhibition celebrating the 400th anniversary of the telescope. He currently chairs the Chicago Council for Science and Technology, has served as President of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and has led numerous efforts to develop science and math exhibits and to create educational activities for elementary and secondary schools over the past 35 years.

Doris Daou is the Director of Communication and Outreach for the NASA Lunar Science Institute at the Ames Research Center. In this role, Doris developed and led a multi-institution collaboration to bring the International Year of Astronomy From Earth to the Universe exhibition to the Bay Area. She has served as a Program Officer in NASA's Science Mission Directorate, and is a co-author of the internationally praised tactile multi-wavelength astronomy book Touch the Invisible Sky.

Stephen Pompea is Manager of Science Education at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, and the U.S. project director for the International Year of Astronomy 2009. He has been principal investigator or co-investigator on eight major NSF-funded national science education projects, and is also an adjunct faculty member at the Universities of Arizona and Arkansas. His latest project is the Galileoscope–a high-quality, low-cost telescope kit developed for the International Year of Astronomy.

Deborah Scherrer is the Director of the Stanford SOLAR Center, the education and public outreach arm for the Solar Observatories Group at Stanford University. She has been involved in an International Heliophysical Year (IHY) project that has placed about 300 solar monitoring instruments in high schools worldwide. Deborah has served as the chair of the American Geophysical Union's Space Physics and Aeronomy Education and Public Outreach Committee, which also held the function of USA Advisory Committee to the IHY.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009
1:30 - 3:00 pm

Refining Our Practice: Can We Really Make an Impact?

Thomas Foster, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, moderator
Mary Dussault, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, panelist
Dennis Schatz, Pacific Science Center, panelist

EPO has made great leaps forward in the past decade, incorporating new technologies and reaching out to new audiences, all with an increased awareness of the need to measure and understand the effectiveness of our efforts. In an age of increasing accountability, how do we really know what impact we're having? What can we really assess, and how do we best to assess it? How can we find ways to evaluate formal and informal programs more effectively? Do we focus on content, or skills, or both? Can we really make a difference in science literacy? Can we strengthen our efforts with a more holistic, connected approach? How do we achieve that? Come share your perspectives with the panelists.

Session Goals:

  • Motivate awareness and necessity of assessment in EPO.
  • Provide a framework for later EPO assessment sessions.
  • Explicitly identifying the benefits and limitations of assessment data.
  • Connecting program goals to assessments and delivery to assessment.

Thomas Foster is an Associate Professor of Physics at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, teaching all levels of physics courses, intro astronomy, and science education pre-service teachers courses. His research interests include human problem-solving, science education validity, reliability, and ethics. Tom serves on the AER Board of Editors and has been on numerous American Association of Physics Teacher committees. He is very active in Illinois teacher associations and individually with formal educators in the region.

Dennis Schatz is Senior Vice President at Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington. He provides leadership for a number of Pacific Science Center's major initiatives, including Washington State LASER and Portal to the Public. Dennis recently served on the National Research Council's Expert Oversight Panel to assist in the development of the practitioner's book Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments. He has received numerous honors, including the National Science Teachers Association 2009 Faraday Science Communicator Award.

Mary Dussault is a science education program manager at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) where she directs a number of national astronomy and physical science education projects. Through her exhibition and curriculum development work at the CfA, and her prior work at Boston's Museum of Science, Mary has over 25 years of experience researching and developing inquiry-based science learning experiences for a variety of settings: informal education environments, for the classroom, and for teacher professional development programs.

Wenesday, September 16, 2009
8:00 - 9:30 am

The Future is Here: Can EPO Navigate the Digital Age?

Stephanie Shipp, Lunar and Planetary Institute, moderator
Nancy Dribin, Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, panelist
Pamela Gay, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, panelist
Stephanie Stockman, NASA Science Mission Directorate, panelist

We're not in our parent's world anymore -- we live in a world increasingly run by electrons and hand-held devices that inform, entertain, connect, and fragment our audiences into an infinite-number of special-interest groups with microscopic attention spans that form and reform for shorter periods of time. How does EPO evolve to match the new media and electronic realities? Is there still a place for storytelling, for laddered learning experiences, for traditional methods? How do we adapt? How do we rise to the new challenges of the new age? Text us about it -- but come in person and interact person-to-person as well!

Session Goals:

  • Motivate EPO practice in the digital age.
  • Provide a framework for our EPO sessions using new technology.
  • Illuminate and discuss various tech-driven EPOs (Google Earth/Sky, Wikipedia, World Wide Telescope, Facebook, Twitter, Galaxy Zoo, SETI@Home).
  • Elicit ideas for professional development of EPO professionals.

Stephanie Shipp is Manager of Education and Public Outreach at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), and adjunct professor at Rice University. At LPI she oversees the design, development, and implementation of planetary science educational materials and programs for formal and informal educators and the general public. These programs increasingly involve integration of social media, including online forums, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr as a means of establishing bi-directional communication with the intended audiences.

Nancy Ross Dribin is the Director of Interactive Media at the Adler Planetarium. She has over fourteen years of experience developing interactive media resources and programs for use in educational settings, including the EDC Center for Children and Technology, Shedd Aquarium, and Chicago History Museum. She currently oversees all new media projects at the Adler, including the popular technology camp programs, podcast series, social media initiatives, evaluation of exhibition multimedia interactives, and the ongoing redesign of the Adler website.
Pamela Gay is visiting assistant professor of physics at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where she teaches introductory astronomy and physics, and as instructor at the University of Swinburne in Australia as part of its astronomy distance learning program. She is on the Council of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) and chairs its education committee. Gay is one of the cofounders of the podcast "Slacker Astronomy," currently serves as co-host of the "Astronomy Cast" podcast, and is co-chair of US "new media" efforts for the International Year of Astronomy.

Pamela Gay is visiting assistant professor of physics at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where she teaches introductory astronomy and physics, and instructor at the University of Swinburne in Australia as part of its astronomy distance learning program. She is on the Council of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) and chairs its education committee. Pamela is one of the cofounders of the podcast Slacker Astronomy, currently serves as co-host of the Astronomy Cast podcast, and is co-chair of US "new media" efforts for the International Year of Astronomy.

Stephanie Stockman is the Education and Public Outreach Lead for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, and brings to that position a background in geology and science education. She started working at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center as a geology graduate student, and by 1997 was the Education Coordinator for the Laboratory for Terrestrial Physics. She has developed and implemented education and outreach programs for a variety of NASA missions in Earth and space science including Landsat 7 (land remote sensing), EOS Aura (atmospheric chemistry), MESSENGER (mission to Mercury), New Horizons (mission to Pluto) and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).


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