AIP AstroFest 09 Promoting Physics Careers through Astronomy

Maria B. Parappilly, Gavin Rowell

Abstract


In this paper we report on an AIP event promoting Physics among year-9 school students in South Australia. We have used Astronomy as a catalyst to enhance the students’ passion for Science.
We organised an Astronomy Festival (IYA09 AstroFest) for year-9 students in 2009, as a part of the International Year of Astronomy. The event sessions were aimed at stimulating students’ interest in Astronomy and hence in promoting Physics. This event consisted of a lecture “The Milky Way in a Different Light”, followed by a number of interesting Astronomy-related activities including Q&A sessions with several university students and a discussion session on an astronomy/space-related topic. The key focus of the event was to make students aware that Physics is fun through interesting Astronomical themes. The positive feedback we have received from the participants and teachers has been overwhelming. The participants completed a survey and we seek to describe in this paper the usefulness of such an event and the measurable outcomes we have achieved so far.

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