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Connecting People to Science

A National Conference on Science Education and Public Outreach
Sunday evening, July 31, through Wednesday afternoon, August 3

Conference Overview

We live in an age largely enabled by science -- and yet, much of the population seems disconnected from it. This is one of the primary challenges facing those of us in science education, outreach and communication today: how to engage the unengaged, and connect people to science in fundamental and effective ways. Our ultimate goal is to improve the outlook for a science literate future, where we have enough scientists and a public better attuned to critical thinking and making enlightened decisions about how science will shape that future.

We have therefore chosen "Connecting People to Science" as the theme of this year’s conference, encouraging us to think about and share how we all, individually and collectively, can work to connect our target audiences to science in all of the different settings to which our efforts extend. Whether we’re working to nurture a sixth grader’s science interest, or to give her teacher more strategies to do so (through workshops or authentic science experiences), or to inspire a college liberal arts major taking the last formal science course he or she may ever take, or to enlighten a member of the public through a field experience, planetarium, science center, elderhostel course, community event, online podcast, or the Sunday newspaper, there’s a place for all of us this year in Baltimore to learn from each other, to share our innovations, to expand our networks, and to work toward a more integrated approach to the teaching and understanding of science.

With our meeting partners, the American Geophysical Union and the Space Telescope Science Institute, and our many meeting sponsors, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific cordially invites you to join us in Baltimore, July 31 through August 3, to connect with each other and thereby enhance our work to connect people to science.

Everyone working in EPO and science communication in earth & space science, and related fields, is invited to consider how best to share the results of our work with each other and the public, how to improve our practice, and how to make connections across science disciplines. Much of the conference will be in the format of hands-on sessions, where we will practice effective techniques for sharing and discussing our work. Poster papers, panels, special interest group discussions, and short ten-minute oral reports will also be part of the program.

EPO conference participants will include scientists, NASA- and NSF-funded EPO program professionals, K-12 teachers, university educators, informal educators (e.g. museums, planetariums, parks), public communicators, web masters, bloggers, science writers, and other EPO professionals. All are welcome who work on or support EPO projects in astronomy, space science, earth science, heliophysics, planetary science, physics, astrophysics, astrobiology and other science fields.

Click here for instructions to register for the Connecting People to Science EPO National conference.

Submitting an Abstract

The Connecting People to Science EPO conference program committee welcomes four kinds of abstracts:

a. Poster Papers. These can discuss educational research, evaluation results, innovative EPO ideas, new media strategies, or other projects, programs, initiatives, results and lessons learned.

b. Ten-minute Oral Presentations. Likewise, these can discuss educational research, evaluation results, innovative EPO ideas, new media strategies, etc. -- but in a tight eight-minute presentation focusing on announcements, key points, and references for further investigation. Two minutes should be saved for Q&A with the audience.

c. Hands-on Workshops/Sessions of One-hour Duration. These sessions should showcase techniques, approaches or materials that impact significantly on our EPO audiences. We expect more workshop proposals than we have time, so try to make your proposal as useful and hands-on as possible. Including colleagues from other institutions is always a plus. The program committee much prefers sessions that are participatory and allow attendees to learn new skills.

d. Special Interest Group (SIG) Discussions of One-hour Duration. These bring together EPO conference participants with a common interest, for discussion under the leadership of a facilitator. Groups might focus on specific EPO audiences (e.g. afterschool programs), strategies (e.g. new media), challenges (e.g. collecting evaluation data), or science content areas (e.g. climate change). We encourage you to propose such a session and nominate one or more facilitators.

Click here for instructions and a form to submit an abstract.

The Connecting People to Science program committee is arranging plenary session speakers or panels to complement the above sessions. Also, the program committee is setting up concurrent special sessions, in one-hour workshop and/or discussion formats, to tackle “hot topics” in smaller sessions with greater opportunity for audience participation. Suggestions on plenary and special sessions are welcome to be brought to the attention of program committee members.


For the EPO conference, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific will publish formal proceedings to provide a written overview and summary of the papers and sessions, and serve as a reference for education and outreach practitioners, as part of the ASP’s conference series. It also provides an opportunity for presenters to publish their work. ASP will send a complimentary copy to every national conference participant after the event. For details, including how to submit your papers and presentations and the deadlines, go to the proceedings page. Questions about the conference volume can be addressed to: 2011proceedings {at}

Any questions? Please direct them to: 2011meeting {at}



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