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Session 58 - Future of Antarctic Astrophysics.
Display session, Wednesday, June 10
For the past eight years the Center for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica (CARA) has operated an observatory at the South Pole; and for the past nine years CARA has organized educational and outreach efforts that capitalize on the appeal and uniqueness of Antarctica. CARA’s programs have reached all levels of the education continuum with an emphasis on minority precollege students. The kinds of educational activities that have been developed are as varied as the audiences. CARA outreach efforts have included hands-on laboratories, nationally televised events (Live from Antarctica), science camps, web based activities, industrial design courses (Extreme Cold Weather Design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh), public lectures, and educational trips to the South Pole. We partially attribute the success of such a wide variety of programs to the subject matter. In addition to providing a natural laboratory, the continent of snow and ice is a powerful tool for education and outreach efforts. Antarctica , like dinosaurs, is a topic that perpetually captures the public’s imagination. This inherent fascination facilitates outreach efforts, because it helps to surmount that first and most difficult step of gaining attention. Antarctica’s lure provides a hook to engage students, researchers in different fields, policy makers and the general public. The continent is a rich source of topics to study as well. Antarctica’s geography, climate, unique view of the sky, position on the globe, history, and role in the global environment are compelling topics in the classroom or for informal education. CARA is an NSF Science Technology Center and is headquartered at the University of Chicago.
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