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Session 4 - Education: Telescopes, the Web and Curricula.
Display session, Wednesday, January 07
Exhibit Hall,

[4.15] Light Pollution: From Confrontation to Cooperation

A. Upgren (Wesleyan/Yale)

During the Fall Semester of 1996 while a Fellow at the Wesleyan Center for the Humanities, I taught a course as a part of its program. This course centered on light pollution and night sky brightness, and their physical and social implications. Its title was the same as the title of this paper and it appears to be the first course on light pollution taught for college credit. The theme, as befits the title, was that the perception of outdoor lighting is moving from the simplistic "more is always better" syndrome to a paradigm in which much of it is seen to be excessive and wasteful. The information sheets of the International Dark-Sky Association formed the must useful textual material of any source. Nine guest speakers participated in the course. These included the Mayor of Middletown and local representatives in the Connecticut State Legislature. Representatives from Northeast Utilities, the Middletown Planning and Zoning Committee, and Wesleyan Public Safety also lectured and led discussions. Although the accommodation to their schedules interfered somewhat with an orderly progression of topics, their participation was a decided benefit to the students. A second beneficial effect was the acquaintance with and positive reaction to the virtues of shielded lighting; the Pamp;Z Committee now recommends shields for all new outdoor lights, and the city may do the same." Each of the students completed a term paper or project overlapping with the central theme. Considerable ingenuity was shown in their selection; they ranged from a discussion of new sulfur lamps to outdoor lighting in movies from the film noir period to the present, to new therapeutic approaches to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Others dealt with a study of street lighting and fall foliage, and light and darkness in the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

Program listing for Wednesday