Global Hands-On Universe Conference
August 22-25, 2022
Message from the Organisers
2022 is the 25th anniversary of the Global Hands-on Universe Conference! Join this celebration and become part of a global network of Astronomers, Scientists and Educators with one common goal: to bring Science Education to a whole new level.
For the past two years, the GHOU Online Conference received an amazing response from the community, connecting thousands of educators, researchers and science enthusiasts in over 90 countries. The online conference format provided hundreds of hours of content that could be followed live by registered participants via Zoom, and by anyone else interested using GHOU’s Facebook page. These numbers put the GHOU Conferences 2020 and 2021 among the largest online events in the field of Astronomy Education of all time. This year, we will work hard to maintain these high standards, and we count on you to once more be part of this online adventure and share your work with the world!
Why this conference is special
Key Activities at GHOU 2022
Submit an abstract and present your work on the many conference topics!
Keynote talks by leading specialists from all continents.
Submit an abstract and present your work on the many conference topics.
Have a great idea for teaching STEM in the classroom? Want to share your favourite resource? Propose an online workshop and share your skills with fellow educators from around the globe.
Join forces with your peers and discuss hot topics of education in a roundtable.
Words from the HOU founder
This Global HOU is a world’s first in many ways.
1) We have developed inspiring, engaging, and effective science education materials, and now we have the means and marketing capabilities to share them with all peoples.
2) We will be seen by any teacher or student with Internet Access in the world!
3) We will save all of our workshops and proceedings and talk on Zoom, so they can be seen by people who missed the synchronous event.
4) All of our materials now are in amazing shape, and we just have to organize and build very easily accessible learning materials around them. That is, we have fantastic image processing software, fantastic activities, and fantastic trainers.
Carlton R. Pennypacker is an astrophysicist at the University of California, Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and is the principal investigator for the Hands-On Universe project. He has been motivated by the power and potential of student and scientist partnerships when teachers and students started discovering supernovae in the Hands-on Universe project. He was awarded the Prix Jules Janssen of the French Astronomical Society in 2010.
Carl has spent much of his career as a research astrophysicist and educator, receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1978. His principal research was studying supernovae and building techniques for their automated discovery. With Rich Muller, he co-founded the Berkeley Supernova Search, which later became the Supernova Cosmology Project. He shared the 2007 Gruber Prize in Cosmology and the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for the Supernova Cosmology Project’s discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.
His principal interests and skills are developing systems for automated imaging and data reduction leading to the discovery of significant signals. This involves a combination of inter-disciplinary fields, including sensor development and deployment, automated telescopes or other platforms, pipelined and efficient data reduction and analysis, and finally robust detection of small signals among a cluttered background, with sufficient background rejection so the system is usable. After honing his skills on astrophysically interesting objects, he now wants to put such skills to the more immediate well-being of society by helping to reduce the danger from wildfires faced by a warming world
Keynote talk – August 22, 08:30 UTC
A Great Year Ahead for Global Hands-On Universe!
It is clear now that with a few additional learning resources for teachers, Global HOU will be more ready than ever for a steady and happy expansion. In the process of developing the new GHOU website, we have started to collect and organize our resources, and the capabilities and strength of our system are more ready than ever to share with more teachers. I will review some of our evidence on how GHOU succeeds in many environments, how students get more inspired about science and math, and how in some studies, they learn more math. The fact that many students can undertake measurements and analysis that are parallel to how science is done in astrophysics is very rare in science education. And some students can rise to publications, even! And a spectrum of GHOU programs are reaching more and more teachers and students, and have taught us how we can proceed in other nations. The capabilities and success of remote training workshops now means we can reach teachers with much less expense, while still maintaining a lot of the experience of face-to-face workshop. These are very exciting times, and I hope we can alert the world to how we can reach more and more teachers and students over the next year!
Cesare Pagano is Graduated in engineering. Passionate about science, he enjoys studying astronomy and its history, observing the sky and involving others with this passion, deeply convinced that science helps being better citizens, as Faraday stated in a conference in 1854.
Member of amateur astronomers’ associations in Texas and in Italy since 2001, Cesare is currently serving as board member of the local astronomy association (Associazione Tuscolana di Astronomia), and as general secretary for the national association (Unione Astrofili Italiani). Since 2020 he also coordinates the International Astronomical Union workgroup for inclusive outreach.
In daytime, after a long career in a major corporation covering leadership roles in the software business, Cesare runs his own consulting firm, assisting companies in their digital transformation journeys.
Keynote talk – August 24, 09:30 UTC
IAU Inclusive Outreach subWorkgroup: a resource and a community
Would you like to show the sky to a blind person, or allow a person in a wheelchair look through a telescope? It’s easier than you think. Just read on!
Public engagement in astronomy is an extremely important activity for professional and amateur astronomical communities, and for all of society. In fact, one specific strategic goal of the IAU Strategic Plan 2020-2030 is to “Engage the public in astronomy”. There are many outreach activities taking place worldwide all year but, unfortunately, most are not designed to be accessible to people with disabilities, thus excluding them from equal access to astronomical information and communication of the science of astronomy.
On the other hand, there are also many interesting examples of inclusive practices by amateurs and professional astronomers in different countries, developed through years of practice. But these examples are usually isolated and unknown to others, known only to the team that developed them and the local community rather than at a regional or national level.
In 2020, the IAU Executive Committee WG Astronomy for Equity and Inclusion introduced the “Inclusive Outreach (Inspiring Stars) subWorkgroup” (IO-sWG), with the mission to foster and facilitate the adoption of inclusive practices in astronomy outreach activities around the world.
The working group has developed and published “Inclusive Outreach Starter Kit” to assist outreach practitioners in adopting inclusive practices, and has been gathering a community to spread these practices. Among the other activities, the group arranges quarterly online symposia to share concrete examples of inclusive outreach activities
This session will cover the details of the “Inclusive Outreach (Inspiring Stars) subWorkgroup”, the “Inclusive Outreach Starter Kit”, other planned activities of the IO-sWG, and how you can join and participate to the program and to the community supporting it.
Jean-Pierre Grootaerd is retired, and has had a passion for astronomy and space exploration since childhood. He did not have a scientific education, but that could not slow down his enthusiasm for science.Since 2006, he has been a volunteer member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Ghent University in Belgium. And in that ability he started a number of school projects related to astronomy and space exploration that are shared first in his own country, later in neighboring countries and since 2015 worldwide.His contacts with scientists, astronauts and Nobel Prize laureates are playing an important role in this. He is also a collaborator of the IAU Office for Astronomy ans Associate member of IAU Commission C2, Communicating Astronomy with the public.
Keynote talk – August 24, 08:00 UTC
Telescopes4All –SSVI in a Box: bring astronomy into your classroom.
Stars Shine for everyone Project (SSVI, www.ssvi.be) is a cooperation between UGent Volkssterrenwacht Armand Pien and Ghent University, started in 2015. Purpose of the project: ” To give children in special education and vulnerable people the opportunity to admire the starry sky with the help of a telescope.”
Based on an idea of Jean-Pierre Grootaerd.
During the IAU100 celebration year 2019, SSVI was allowed to have an important place. In 2020 and 2021, SSVI became a partner of IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach. Competitions are organized such as ‘Telescopes for All’, 100 hours of Astronomy, Draw an Astronomer in which at least 30 SSVI Bresser telescopes are distributed annually. Leiden University provides shipping of the telescopes that were won at the IAU – SSVI contests.Since 2022, SSVI also has a collaboration with ‘Beamline for Schools’ ( project powered by CERN). The SSVI project is currently present in over 150 countries across all continents.Recently, there is now SSVI in a Box for schools. The aim is to bring astronomy into the classroom by building small simple telescopes: refractors, reflectors and basic spectroscopes. Telescopes that can be assembled and disassembled at will. STEM project.
Nathalie Ouellette is an astrophysicist, science communicator and lifetime lover of all things space! She obtained her Ph.D. in Physics & Astronomy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario in 2016. Her research focuses on galaxy formation and evolution, particularly those found in clusters. Nathalie is currently the Coordinator of the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) at the University of Montréal and is also the Outreach Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope in Canada collaborating with the Canadian Space Agency. She is a frequent contributor and analyst in Canadian media on everything related to space. She also organises and participates in science outreach events from local to international scales to encourage the interest and participation of youth and the general public in space science and to increase scientific literacy in Canada.
Keynote talk – August 23, 16:00 UTC
The James Webb Space Telescope: a Wondrous Exploration of the Cosmos
The James Webb Space Telescope, a 6.5m infrared telescope known to some as the successor of the famous Hubble Space Telescope, is without a doubt one of the most complex machines ever built by humanity! After decades of preparation, the Webb Telescope is finally ready to reveal some of the greatest wonders of the Universe: seeing farther than ever in our Universe, peering through the cosmic dust sprinkled throughout galaxies, and discovering and studying new alien worlds. This project, an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, is meant to spark wonder and curiosity in the hearts of all global citizens! As the premiere space telescope of the next decade and beyond, Webb will be a wonderful teaching tool as well as an incredible driver for countless scientific discoveries. Find out about Webb’s technological prowesses, some of the great questions Webb will endeavour to answer, and ways you can use Webb to bring astronomy to students and the public all over the world.
Patrícia Figueiró Spinelli has a PhD in Astrophysics from the International Max Planck Research School of Astrophysics, Germany. During her PhD studies, she got deeply in love with science outreach, being one of the co-founders of the IYA2009 special project GalileoMobile. Currently, she is a public astronomer at the Museum of Astronomy and Related Sciences, in Rio de Janeiro. She is also a researcher and lecturer in the area of science education and communication at the Graduate Program in the Public Communication of Science, Technology, and Health at Fiocruz. Patricia is also the Brazilian coordinator of the Portuguese Expertise Language Centre Office of Astronomy for Development (PLOAD-IAU).
Keynote talk – August 25, 16:00 UTC
Girls in Astronomy – Pursuing gender equity and social justice in science education
Science is a powerful institution for development, but as with any other human endeavor, it is subject to the social constraints of society, reproducing values and practices of the dominant groups. The underrepresentation of women in STEM is one example of such practice. It is desirable though to pursue gender balance in science and welcome 50% of the intellectual capacity of humanity, not only because new solutions for global problems can emerge but also because it is a matter of fairness and social justice. But how can we attract more girls into STEM careers if school science books still highlight the contributions of men, mostly? How can we convince girls that they are smart, if they are constantly subject to jokes which reinforce the idea that women have no talent for rational work? How can we convince female youngsters, especially those from the Global South, that science is for them if society makes them believe that this is a space for white people only? How can we keep girls motivated if stereotypes about STEM clashes with stereotypes about girls? In this contribution, I will discuss how Astronomy can be used to overcome gender issues that affect STEM education, sharing the methodology, practices and lessons learned from “Girls in the Museum of Astronomy” project, which has roots on the theoretical framework of feminists studies on science and intersectionality.
Robert Zellem is an exoplanet astronomer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory working on ground- and space-based observations of the atmospheres of exoplanets, planets outside of our Solar System. Rob is a member of the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope’s Coronograph Instrument (CGI; an instrument that will directly-image exoplanets) Project Science Team and is the lead of developing its Science Calibration Plan. He is the JPL Commissioning Lead of NESSI, a new multi-object spectrograph at Palomar Observatory that will study tens of these alien worlds. He has been involved in benchmarking the performance through simulations of NASA and ESA exoplanet-dedicated missions such as CASE, the NASA contribution to ESA’s ARIEL mission, and the Astro2020 missions Origins Space Telescope and HabEx. He is also the Project Lead of Exoplanet Watch, a citizen science project that will aid in the characterization of exoplanets.
Keynote talk – August 24, 15:30 UTC
Exoplanet Watch: You Can Help NASA Observe Other Worlds!
NASA’s Universe of Learning’s Exoplanet Watch is a citizen science project, currently geared toward amateur astronomers and astronomy students at colleges and universities, to observe transiting exoplanets — planets outside our solar system — with small telescopes. A transiting exoplanet is a planet outside of our solar system that periodically passes in front of its host star, causing the star to appear to slightly dim (typically by around 1%). Observing exoplanet transits is important, as they provide direct measurement of a planet’s radius and composition. Ground-based observations, particularly with small telescopes (less than 1 meter) constrain the exoplanet’s orbital period (how quickly a planet orbits around its host star) which in turn provides better mass measurements. Exoplanet Watch will help increase the efficiency of exoplanet studies by large telescopes to characterize exoplanet atmospheres by reducing uncertainty about the predicted timing of transit events.
Saeed Salimpour is a Postdoctoral Researcher in astronomy education at the International Astronomical Union Office of Astronomy for Education/Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy. He has a background in Cosmology, Visual Art/Design, and Education. His research interest crosses disciplinary boundaries and includes Science and Astronomy Education (with a focus on Cosmology), Creativity, Representations, Aesthetics, Big Data Visualisation, Learning Progressions, Concept Inventories, VR/AR, Curriculum Development, Indigenous/Cultural Astronomy, and Student Research in Astronomy. He has worked with international collaborations in astronomy education research; implemented research-based astronomy projects involving colour imaging and exoplanet science for middle and secondary school students; conducted teacher training workshops; taught high school physics; lectured at university; exhibited in art exhibitions; and given public talks on various topics about the Universe. His goal is to bring the science and beauty of Cosmos to everyone, whilst working at the interface of Science, Art, and Education. He believes in “being curious for the sake of finding things out!”
Keynote talk – August 23, 08:00 UTC
Astronomy Education Research: Starship Enterprise, Ogres, and Onions
Astronomy as the oldest science and perhaps one of most fundamental pursuits of knowledge knows no boundaries and has captured the imagination of human beings for millennia. Given this innate characteristic, the aim is to find ways that enables and supports educators to leverage the potential of astronomy to engage the diversity of students; and inspire future leaders and citizens to appreciate our place in the Cosmos and the importance of this spaceship Earth. One avenue for achieving this goal involves exploring various aspects of the teaching and learning process from the perspective of both students and educators. This has been done for many decades in the field of education research; however, since the 1990s a new area of research focussed explicitly on astronomy education has flourished – Astronomy Education Research (AER). As a rich discipline-based education research field, AER draws on a diverse range of fields, which includes (science) education, cognitive science, psychometrics, educational psychology, to name a few; all contextualised in the domain of astronomy. At its core AER explores various aspects of the teaching and learning of astronomy at various levels and contexts. This talk aims to provide an overview of the current state-of-affairs in AER, its unique characteristics, diverse methodologies, theoretical perspectives, tools, and provide some insights into how to engage with, and in, astronomy education research.
Sandra Benítez Herrera was born in Madrid and studied Physics at the Complutense University of Madrid, finishing in 2009. She obtained a Ph.D in Cosmology from the Max-Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) and the Technical University of Munich, Germany, in 2013. In 2014, she did a 6-month postdoctoral fellowship at MPA and was later awarded a “Young Talent” postdoctoral fellowship to conduct research at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In 2015, she began working as a science communicator and researcher at the Museum of Astronomy and Related Sciences in Rio de Janeiro, while at the same time completing a specialization in science education and outreach at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation. Between 2018 and 2021, she worked as a science communicator and educator at the Communication and Outreach Department of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, Spain, coordinating science education projects and outreach activities with different types of audiences.
Since 2022, she works as Education Scientist and Communication Officer at the European Space Astronomy Centre of the European Space Agency (ESA).
Keynote talk – August 25, 08:00 UTC
Space for Education and Development
In this talk we will present different initiatives that use Space Sciences as a gateway for science education by giving students and teachers direct access to space missions data and educational resources to work with them in the classroom.
We will also discuss, in a more general context, how Space Agencies are contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals, in an effort to address some of the main challenges affecting our planet.
- 25 years of GHOU Conference
- Best practices in Astronomy Education and Outreach
- Astronomy Education Research
- Astronomy for equity and inclusion
- International Collaborations in the Virtual World
- Citizen Science
- Astronomy for Development
- Research in the Classroom with Robotic Telescopes
- Cultural Astronomy and Archeoastronomy
- The Next Generation of Ground-based and Space Telescopes
By utilizing modern telecommunication, computer, and software capabilities, we can truly share our experiences from many of our schools and many nations. The sharing and learning that will take place in this conference should be very good!
How Teachers Benefit
Teachers will learn that they are part of a powerful global system that really works, has energy, and can change their lives and their students' lives for the better. And we have many field-tested, classroom-ready materials, and you will learn how to succeed with them, many times over.
The 4 days of conference sessions are hosted in 3 different time zones spread 8 hours apart from each other, so participants from all parts of the world can participate.