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Conference Program Preview

Plenary Sessions
Sessions Overview
Science Night
Welcome Reception

Full program and schedule (pdf, 5.3 MB)


Plenary Sessions

Chris MooneyMonday, August 1, 9:00 am (Keynote Presentation):

Unscientific America: What’s the Problem? What’s the Solution?
Chris Mooney

It’s a staggering paradox. The United States has the finest universities in the world and invests more money in scientific research than any other nation. Yet we’re allowing ourselves to fall behind in science education -- and behind other countries, like China, in green energy innovation. Meanwhile, most Americans know very little about science, and often don't even understand what they're missing -- or why science matters to their lives. No wonder we have unending battles over the science of global warming, the teaching of evolution, and whether or not to vaccinate our children. How could the U.S. become so...unscientific? And what can we do about it? How can we make science popular again, or even…sexy? In this talk, Chris Mooney explains the reasons for the gap between science and the U.S. public, and what we can do to bring these two worlds -- both of which need the other -- back together again.

Journalist and author Chris Mooney is a senior correspondent for The American Prospect, a contributing editor for Science Progress, and writes an online column named Doubt and About for the magazine Skeptical Inquirer, where he serves as a contributing editor. His books include The Republican War on Science, Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming, and Unscientific America. He has been a visiting associate at the Center for Collaborative History at Princeton University and a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Waleed AbdalatiMonday, August 1, 1:30 pm:

Looking Homeward Toward Earth: The Power of Perspective Waleed Abdalati (NASA Chief Scientist)

With the 1968 “Earthrise” image of planet Earth emerging from beyond the lunar horizon, society’s view of our celestial home was changed forever. Beautiful and vulnerable, and suspended in dark stillness, this image inspired an appreciation that we are one human race, whose fate hinges delicately on our collective actions. Since that time, space-based observations of the Earth have continued to provide essential insights and information across the full spectrum of human activities and natural processes, and have even become a mainstream part of our daily lives. From documenting disappearing Arctic ice cover, to providing key insights to hurricane evolution, to tracking the amount of movement and cycles of Earth’s biomass, these observations allow us to understand how and why our world is changing, and what these changes mean for life on Earth. But beyond their tremendous scientific value, they can be a powerful and inspiring tool for generating a true appreciation of the complexities and beauty of the world in which we live. From that iconic Earthrise photograph to the viral popularity of event-based satellite imagery, the power of the space-based perspective satisfies our need for constant and current information, and fuels our emotional connection to the planet we call home.

Waleed Abdalati was appointed NASA chief scientist on Jan. 3, 2011, serving as the principal adviser to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on NASA science programs, strategic planning and the evaluation of related investments. He is currently on leave from his position as director of the University of Colorado’s Earth Science and Observation Center, which carries out research and education activities on the use of remote sensing observations to understand the Earth. Abdalati is also a fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University. His research has focused on the use of satellites and aircraft to understand how and why Earth's ice cover is changing, and what those changes mean for life on our planet. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters and NASA-related technical reports, with approximately 1,500 citations in the peer-reviewed literature. He has given featured lectures and keynote addresses to the United Nations, AIAA, SPIE, AGU and various other professional and international organizations, as well as public lectures at The Smithsonian Institution, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Adler Planetarium. Abdalati has received various awards and recognition, most notably the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the White House.

Tuesday, August 2, 8:30 am:

Engaging Girls in STEM: A Discussion of Foundational and Current Research on What Works
Moderator: Karen Peterson (EdLab Group / National Girls Collaborative Project)
Panelists: Jolene Jesse (National Science Foundation)
Laura Migus (Association of Science-Technology Centers)

Diversity in STEM education and careers occupies center stage in national discussions on U.S. competitiveness in the 21st century. Women constitute roughly half the total workforce in the US, but they hold just 25% of mathematical and science jobs and 11% of engineering jobs. Women earn nearly 60% of all bachelor's and master's degrees, except in physics, computer science, and engineering where the percentages are 20-25%. This disparity is even more pronounced at the doctoral level, where women earn fewer than 20% of awarded Ph.D.'s in physics or engineering. However, at the high school level, there is far less gender disparity: both female and male students take comparable advanced physical science and math courses. What, then, accounts for the lack of gender diversity in STEM advanced education and career paths? In fact, there is no consensus even among experts. So, what information and strategies does the E/PO community need to know and include as part of designing and implementing programs to encourage more girls and women to engage in STEM for the long term?

The panelists will discuss foundational and current research on pressing questions on why these trends exist and what can be done to change them. They will highlight research and evaluation results from programs that are successfully engaging girls in STEM.

Karen PetersonKaren Peterson, is the Chief Executive Officer of the EdLab Group and has been active in education for over twenty years as a classroom teacher, university instructor, pre-service and in-service teacher educator, program administrator, and researcher. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator for the National Girls Collaborative Project, SciGirls – A New National TV Series, the Computer Science Collaboration Project, and Bio-ITEST: New Frontiers in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, all of which are funded by the National Science Foundation. These projects all address gender, racial and socioeconomic under-representation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Ms. Peterson serves on local and national boards which develop and administer programs designed to increase underrepresented students’ interests in STEM. Ms. Peterson has published in The Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering and has co-authored evaluation reports and promising practices reports in informal information technology education for girls for the National Center for Women & Information Technology and the Girl Scouts of the USA.

Jolene JesseJolene Kay Jesse is a Program Director for the Research on Gender in Science and Engineering program in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) at the National Science Foundation. The program funds and promotes research into education and workforce issues aimed at broadening the participation of women and girls across the science and engineering fields. It also funds efforts to diffuse research based innovations in gender equitable teaching, pedagogy, and counseling to practitioner audiences.

Laura MigusLaura Huerta Migus is the Director of Equity and Diversity at the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC). She is responsible for spearheading ASTC's Equity & Diversity Initiative, which seeks to ensure that science centers and museums are capable of effectively serving their diverse audiences. Initiative activities include: ASTC Diversity & Leadership Development Fellows program; gathering and developing resources to support ASTC member institutions in their diversity journeys; and identifying best practices in the field for replication. She works to advance ASTC's equity and diversity agenda through a number of NSF-funded projects, including leadership positions in the Cosmic Serpent project and the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net). Laura is also the Co-Principal Investigator on the Girls RISE Museum Network.

Randi KornTuesday, August 2, 1:45 pm:

Why Counting Attendees Won't Cut It for Evaluation in the 21st Century: Planning and Evaluating Informal Science Programs
Randi Korn (Randi Korn and Associates)

Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?”  One could ask the same question to those of us who work in science education and outreach -- if you haven’t articulated clear goals about what you would like your program to achieve, how on Earth will you know whether you have achieved them? While all of us want to do the right thing for our audiences, knowing that we have actually done so is another story. Without sound planning (clarifying outcomes) evaluation is a moot point, and with more and more funding agencies asking their grantees to evaluate their informal science education efforts, planning with the end in mind is becoming a necessity. With budget, staffing, and time limitations, it's easy to lose track of the value of planning and evaluation. And evaluation can seem a daunting task for those who have not done it, especially when an audience is temporary or spread out over a region or the entire nation.

To respond to the demands, many good books are now available with ideas for evaluating projects outside the formal classroom, including several published by the National Research Academies and NSF. In this presentation, we will discuss the importance of planning and evaluation, no matter what your budget size, we will share examples of how unusual projects have been evaluated, and we will suggest questions you can ask yourself and your audiences that will help you think like an evaluator. To achieve results, program leaders must first clarify what they want to achieve and then align all actions and resources towards achieving those ends. Will your strategic and daily work change as a result? Absolutely! But only if you want your program to make a difference in people’s lives.

Randi Korn is Founding Director of Randi Korn & Associates, Inc. (RK&A), a company that helps museums plan their strategic and daily work around achieving impact, which often includes conducting impact evaluation, visitor research, and all phases of museum program evaluation. During the company’s 23-year history, RK&A has learned a great deal from the hundreds of exhibitions and programs it has evaluated for children’s museums, museums of science, art, and history, botanical gardens, zoos, libraries, and aquariums. As an active member in the museum community, Randi enjoys sharing her knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm for evaluation and intentional practice. She presents at conferences, writes for museum journals, and lectures at Johns Hopkins University, The Corcoran College of Art, and The George Washington University, where she was an adjunct instructor in the Museum Education division for 18 years. A recent publication, “The Case for Holistic Intentionality,” underscores her commitment to helping museums pursue intentional practice and evaluate the ways in which they are achieving their desired results.

David BlewettWednesday, August 3, 8:30 am:

New Views of Diverse Worlds
David Blewett (Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory)

Spacecraft exploration is in the process of revolutionizing our knowledge of the airless rocky bodies in the inner Solar System. Mercury has long been viewed as a planetary "endmember", but NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft, which flew past the innermost planet three times in 2008-09 and entered orbit in March of 2011, is finding that Mercury is even stranger than we thought. Mercury is weird in essentially all its characteristics: interior structure, surface composition, geology, topography, magnetic field, exosphere, and interaction with the space environment. Closer to home, a flotilla of international probes have targeted the Moon in the past few years. Giving lie to the "been there, done that" attitude held by many toward the Moon, the new missions are making many new discoveries and reminding us that there is much we don't know about our nearest planetary neighbor and that rich opportunities for exploration are waiting nearby. Finally, I'll present findings from NASA's Dawn spacecraft, which will begin its orbital mission around the asteroid Vesta in mid-July 2011. Vesta is sometimes called "the smallest terrestrial planet" because it has separated into a crust, mantle, and core, and experienced a protracted geological evolution. Vesta is probably the source of a common class of meteorites, so we have abundant samples that help to inform our interpretation of the data to be obtained by Dawn. Mercury, the Moon, and Vesta are worlds who share some characteristics, but have taken radically different evolutionary paths. They provide insight into the most fundamental geological processes that likely affect all rocky planets -- around our Sun or beyond.

David T. Blewett joined the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory as a member of the Senior Professional Staff in September 2007. Prior to that he was a Principal Scientist at NovaSol (Innovative Technical Solutions, Inc.), a small employee-owned high-tech company in Honolulu, Hawaii of which he was a co-founder. His planetary research emphasizes remote sensing, geological analysis, and spectral algorithm development using data from planetary spacecraft including Mariner 10, Clementine, Galileo, Lunar Prospector, MESSENGER and Dawn. In addition, he has done considerable work in the analysis of Earth-based telescopic spectra of the Moon. He has been a Principal Investigator in the NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program since 2002, was selected as a MESSENGER Participating Scientist in 2007, and as a Dawn at Vesta Participating Scientist in 2010. He is presently the Deputy Chair of the MESSENGER Geology Discipline Group and a member of the MESSENGER Science Steering Committee. He serves as the MESSENGER Science Outreach Liaison, in charge of answering questions from the public that come in via the MESSENGER website. He was fortunate to spend a field season with the Antarctic Search for Meteorites in the late 1980s.

Neil deGrasse TysonWednesday, August 3, 1:45 pm:

Tales from the Twitterverse
Neil deGrasse Tyson (American Museum of Natural History)

“Tales from the Twitterverse” will describe Dr. Tyson’s running experience communicating science via the medium of Twitter. He now has about 130,000 followers on his twitter handle: @neiltyson and was recently selected for Time Magazine's list of the best 140 Twitter feeds. It is perhaps fair to say that, so far, social media and science EPO have not yet been fully introduced to one another. So this plenary talk will be a kind of overview of his successes and failures in the medium, as a way to jumpstart people's interest in what is possible.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is the first occupant of the Frederick P. Rose Directorship of the Hayden Planetarium. In addition to dozens of professional publications, Dr. Tyson has written, and continues to write for the public. He is a monthly essayist for Natural History magazine under the title "Universe." And among Tyson's eight books is his memoir The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist; and Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution, co-written with Donald Goldsmith. Origins is the companion book to the PBS-NOVA 4-part mini-series Origins, in which Tyson serves as on-camera host. Beginning in the fall of 2006, Tyson has hosted the PBS-NOVA's spinoff program NOVA ScienceNow, which is an accessible look at the frontier of all the science that shapes the understanding of our place in the universe.

Sessions Overview

Here are just some of the interesting one-hour sessions that will be offered at the meeting:

  • Mobile Apps for Education: A Round-table Discussion
  • Climate Change Misconceptions and Messages
  • How-to Workshop on Evaluation of Informal Science Education and Outreach Projects
  • Sources of EPO Funding, Techniques for Getting Funded
  • After-school Programs: Your Next Partners in STEM Learning
  • Data in the Classroom: Using Real Space-Science Data in K-12 Education
  • Using the Planetarium to Talk about Climate Change
  • The New NRC Framework for K-12 Education Standards: What’s In the Framework and What It Means for Space Science Education
  • Examining Large Public EPO Events (Special Days, Years, Nights)
  • Best Practices for School and Community Star Parties
  • Unscientific America: What’s the Problem? What’s the Solution?
  • Engaging Girls in Science Education
  • Citizen Science in the Classroom and at Home
  • The Pluto Debate: Learning through Role-playing Games
  • The 2012 Transit of Venus: How to Facilitate Group Viewing
  • Marketing 101 for Scientists
  • Incorporating Performing Arts into Science Learning for Teenagers
  • Using Big Ideas in Cosmology to Teach College Students
  • Hands-on Workshop on Publishing Your Work
  • How to Let Planetarium Visitors Interact
  • An Earth-Science Data Visualization Tool for the Classroom
  • Bring NASA's Year of the Solar System into Your Program
  • Using Project 2061 Tools to Promote EPO in Astronomy

Plus 10-minute oral presentations and poster papers on a wide range of topics.

Full program and schedule (pdf, 5.3 MB)

Draft Schedule of 1-Hour/2-Hour Workshops, Special Interest Group Discussions, and 10-Minute Oral Presentations, August 1-3 (pdf)
(updated July 20, 2011)

Science Night

Monday, August 1, 2011
Tremont Plaza Hotel

Join scientists associated with the Space Telescope Science Institute for an evening of cutting-edge science insights based on their research with the Hubble space Telescope and Hubble's most recent great discoveries.

Science Night speakers:

Mario LivioMario Livio
The Greatest Scientific Achievements of the Hubble Space Telescope

Dr. Livio will review the most important scientific achievements of the Hubble Space Telescope, covering topics ranging from Dark Energy to Extrasolar Planets, and from the Hubble Constant to Supermassive Black Holes. Dr. Livio will also present some results of the most recent observations, following Servicing Mission 4.


Rachel OstenRachel Osten
Making the Universe Safe for Worlds

The universe is a violent place. In our search for other worlds, we need to consider several factors when determining whether those worlds can host life. Studies of violent processes occurring on our Sun and nearby stars give constraints on the kinds of stars that can host habitable planets, and where those planets need to be. Dr. Osten will discuss some of these effects as seen on the Sun and observed at Earth, and what we are learning about other stars and their ability to be good planetary parents.


Massimo StiavelliMassimo Stiavelli
The James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope will replace and complement the Hubble and the Spitzer Space Telescopes. Dr. Stiavelli will describe the science motivation for this observatory and how they relate to its design features. He will also provide a status report of its development.


Jason TumlinsonJason Tumlinson
The Invisible Ecosystem of Galaxies

The talk will describe the large and largely invisible regions of "circum-galactic" gas filling the space around galaxies and how this material plays an important role in determining the mass and appearance of galaxies in the modern Universe. Starting from Lyman Spitzer's first ideas about gas outside galaxies nearly sixty years ago, Dr. Tumlinson will survey the history of this subject up to the very latest results from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Welcome Reception

Hubble 3D posterSunday evening, July 31, 2011

The ASP's Welcome Reception, Sunday evening will feature a special showing of the IMAX movie "Hubble 3-D" at the nearby Maryland Science Center. This spectacular film chronicles the last Hubble Space Telescope repair mission, using an IMAX 3-D camera that the astronauts took along.



Frank SummersScience, Data, and Art in the Making of "Hubble 3D"
Dr. Frank Summers of the Space Telescope Science Institute will give an insider's view of the making of Hubble 3D. IMAX "Hubble 3D" chronicles the challenges and successes of building, launching, and maintaining the world's most famous telescope. In high resolution and stereo 3D, the film features space footage shot by shuttle astronauts during servicing missions as well as breath-taking imagery from Hubble. Dr. Summers will highlight the scientific basis, the image and data transformations, and the artistic inspiration used in creating 12 minutes of awe-inspiring scientific visualizations in this highly acclaimed film.


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