Education & Outreach
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CfCP Course for Planetarium Staff:

Origin of Structure in the Universe
September 26–28, 2003  &  October 22, 2003
Chicago, IL


An N-body/hydro simulation of galaxy formation at high redshift

Note: Many participants had multiple responses for a number of Likert scale questions and/or blank responses, hence the total is not always 40. Quotes are selections.

Quality and Usefulness of the Course:

Your Impression of:
Content 35 3      
Level (0 too low? 3 too high?) 14 17 2 1  
Instructors 31 5      
Lectures 11        
    Accessible? 21 20 2    
    Clear? 19 22 4   1
    Relevance of topics? 32 6      
    Answers to audience questions? 35 6   1  
Laboratory Exercises 21 16 4 1  
Tours 18 19 1    
Handouts & Web site 26 14      
Organization 30 9      

Should this course be offered again?  Yes: 39 (100%)   No: 0

Do you think this course will directly affect the contents of your planetarium shows?

Yes: 32 (91%)   No: 3 (9%)

Would you recommend future courses for planetarians on modern astrophysical topics?

Yes: 36 (100%)   No: 0

How would you rate the importance of financial support of travel and housing?
(Note: lack of importance corresponded with people who were local and did not receive travel and housing)

Critically Important: 26 (67%)
Somewhat Important: 7 (18%)
Neutral: 3 (8%)
Limited Importance: 2 (5%)
Unimportant: 1 (3%)

Quality or Usefulness?

  • It was one of my best experiences. Exciting!

  • Better if labs would be able for us to take back with us, or to be reproducible.

  • Both reading assignments in particular were excellent — I was ready when the lecture began.

  • It was a privilege to hear from all these people in one three-day event. Hearing the same broad topics addressed in multiple ways was uniquely valuable.

Do you think this course will directly affect the contents of your planetarium shows? If so, how?

  • My after-the-show audience discussion will be affected immediately. I am now planning at least two new public shows, and a series of lessons for the high school astronomy class.

  • I think I'll be able to explain why such unbelievable theories are now generally accepted, and what they actually say. I think. Maybe if you give me a couple of days to review.

  • I will be designing a program to incorporate cosmology. I could not leave this course untouched. It inspired me enough to want to share the information with the general public more that I am now.

The goal of this course is to incorporate modern cosmology into planetarium programming. Do you think it will be met? If so how?

  • Cosmology is the most exciting science out there right now. Nobody understands it and it is time for all of us to try and help. Your course provided us with the knowledge to get going.

  • Participants all seem very interested, enthusiastic and committed to incorporating content of course in their programming and teaching.

  • This field has changed so much recently that I needed this course.

  • I will design new programs and I heard lots of others say the same.

  • Possibly. A great deal rests on the attendees being able to convert what they learned into a useful format for their audiences.

  • In my case. I will use the content directly in my January, February and March public shows. There was also some discussion that some of us in GLPA may collaborate on a cosmology show.

  • It's already incorporated here — in our new show "Hubble's Edge of the Universe" . . .

In what ways do you expect this course to be useful to you professionally?

  • It has helped my own, personal understanding of cosmology and this (hopefully) in turn will help me explain it better to my students and patrons. All visuals on the CD will be very useful!

  • Will expand programming to include more cosmology using these resources.

  • As a teacher I have a clue now about cosmology. The impact of being present hear at the University of Chicago can not be underestimated. Having the "shakers and movers" of cosmos as our speakers was a sign of ultimate respect for us.

  • Better programs for my planetarium

  • A deeper understanding will help me answer questions.

  • Ought to do what I'd hoped: Improve what I say to the public about what we think, why.

  • Great background to be able to answer questions. Dark Energy was like UFO's to me, but I feel like I can answer some remedial questions now.

  • The knowledge gained adds to my ideas of what can be done in a planetarium show. All I have to do is covert it into a simpler fashion for our audience.

Suggestions for improvement?

  • It would be an extraordinary project for you to create content, video or otherwise, that we would all use in our domes. I can't stress that point enough.

  • Bring in an instructor/teacher/educator who can speak to how you can teach this.

  • Suggest workshop to write short descriptions or metaphors of various topics such as quantum dark energy, inflation, etc.

  • Also, if you're working with planetarium staff, it would be nice to include a formal visit to the planetarium itself! (even if the show isn't cosmology)

  • Make it more real. What demos can we do in the classroom or planetarium to convey these ideas? (Maybe that is our job to advise You!) In this workshop, don't forget we are planetarium people. It's our job to translate this stuff — some help would be good!

  • The only suggestion I have is to limit it to fewer people, say 30 or so. That way the room and tours would not be so crowded, and people could participate a little more. It was sometimes difficult to hear the lectures and to see the labs on the tours.

  • More time for discussion with other planetarium staff.

Any Additional Comments, Suggestions or Ideas:

  • Provide visual resources — (stills, movies) — that could be incorporated into planetarium shows.

  • Excellent organization. Excellent logistics. A+

  • Again I felt the highest level of respect from you Randy and the instructors — No sense of talking "Down" at any time. You have a gifted faculty — great sense of humor and how to communicate.

  • This course was outstanding. It was wonderful to be able to hear from and ask questions of leading cosmologists. They were so patient and helpful.

  • Thank you for the opportunities this course made available. I could not have come if it was not for the financial arrangement (and I still need to submit my travel!). That in itself, plus talking to folks working in this field made this extremely valuable. I am still telling folks about it here.

  • It was exciting to have the scientists that were actually doing the research speak to us, and I applaud the effort they expended to bring their thoughts to a level that we could understand. They all seemed genuinely interested in having us understand, and I think they knew and appreciated that it would take a great deal of effort on our part to bring these difficult but exciting ideas to the general public and to school children.

  • Help GLPA produce a planetarium show on Cosmology including getting grant money for production and distribution.