maya_summer_inter_11MAYA BARLEV is here to give us the answers and this is how she starts?

Imagination, humility, connection and curiosity: this is why we do astronomy. These are the sensations our ancestors felt when looking up at the sky centuries ago, and these are the feelings we still experience as we continue to work through the countless and ever-multiplying mysteries of our Universe. For the past nine months, I’ve travelled around the world with the sole purpose of speaking with children about astronomy. Why speak primarily with children, and not adults? I believe that kids are able to expose and articulate these pillars more clearly and with less fear than grown-ups. Children have the ability to both reflect their environments and upbringings while simultaneously remaining creative, curious and uninhibited.

In speaking with children across four continents and five countries these past nine months, I’ve learned several lessons about how people connect with our Universe on a fundamental and human level, and also what can stifle that connection as we grow older. The younger students I speak with all want to go to the moon, to meet an alien, to discover a new planet and name it after themselves, or to travel in a rocket-ship to a distant star. The older students, meanwhile, feel the heavy weight of insurmountable algebraic equations, countless scientific facts to be memorized, and often times the reality of the exclusivity and cost of the scientific academic sphere.

Maya with learners in Sutherland SAI strongly believe that not every child should become an astronomer, but every child should learn to appreciate astronomy. Often times, outreach groups from observatories or academic institutions will visit schools to inspire students to pursue careers in astronomy. This is wonderful, and I’m in support of finding those children with a potential career interest in science and showing them the opportunities they have. I met students in South Africa, for example, who thrive in their math and science classes, but who never heard of the Square Kilometre Array and all of the opportunities it is bringing to their country. After learning about the project, these students beam with excitement as they learn that their dreams to work in a field they enjoy are in fact realizable.

Continue to read this interesting article from AWB GAM 2013 Blog


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