Thursday, June 23, 2016

.astronomy8 unconference sessions #astroatfootie #astroblog

Unconventional Astronomy Outreach #astroatfootie
* Instead of inviting the public to come to us, astronomers should go where the people already are: sports events, concerts, ... people waiting in line who don't have better things to do.  Airports (once you get clearance!).  
 * Toronto ideas: Yonge-Dundas Square, Buskerfest, street fests, free outdoor movie nights, SF fandom conventions, ...
 * Astronomy on tap: ticketed in Austin, free in NYC.
* Astronomers in a pub, unannounced except to owner, wear distinctive outfits "people in orange hats are astronomers; ask them questions".  Or, wear butler outfits / black tie / glow necklaces (1 BSc, 2 MSc, 3 PhD, 4 tenure, etc).
* Astrotrain ... on subway ... ask an astronomer anything.
* Need to be friendly and approachable and willing to say "I don't know".
* Shopping malls have a high fraction of people who aren't looking for you, and don't really care.
* Work half-and-half with scientists & street theatre performers
* Choose your audience, then figure out how to reach them.  Match the outreach personnel to the audience.
* Have a simple script: Come to our open nights. Take math, physics, chemistry, computer science.
* "That's a great question. Have you thought about being a scientist? Because anybody who asks good questions would make a good scientist."
* If your audience is HS students, from communities underrepresented in universities: teen-group concerts, parents/grandparents/younger-oriented events like ice-skating, "Wiggles",
* If your audience is educated: airports.
* Get feedback from happy-buckets: one smiley, one meh, one sad: put a token in your choice.

Academic Blogs #astroblog
* What are they good for?
* In CS, it's tutorials.
* Mine is
* If you think you have something to say, you should blog.  It's good writing practice.
* Blogs can be cited in the journals.
* Having students select articles - using it as an accessible journal club for intro astro grad courses.

Other Unconference Session Summaries
#lieflat - see their Google doc
#libdotastro - astronomy libraries ... learn their goals, then ask for your needs in that framework
#astroatfootie (pop-up science) - get feedback and give numbers to funding agencies
#recruit - .astronomy needs a FAQ; answering questions interested parties have; nomination form; rename hack-day to make-day.
#supergit - clarified to  diagram
#divdot - why is astronomy less diverse than some other sciences?  We're not communicating that astronomers learn many skills which are widely applicable in many careers.
#dotmeme - watch the twitter!

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