Education & Public Outreach

A crucial goal of UC-HIPACC outreach is to give the fruits of UC computational astrophysics research back to the taxpaying public through formal (classroom) and informal (extracurricular) education.

We help astronomers touch many audiences by preparing stories about their research in forms that will be useful (and even entertaining!) in the classroom for both students and teachers. UC-HIPACC staff coordinate web distribution of relevant lectures, seminars, meetings, articles, and regularly updated web pages on topics related to astrocomputing.

We also collaborate with planetaria, science museums, and other organizations that reach the astronomy-interested general public. Many planetaria now use new digital projectors having a resolution of 4000 pixels or more across the dome; and some have 3D theaters. Planetarium shows for which UC-HiPACC members have contributed astronomical computations and images include “Life: A Cosmic Story” in the 75-foot dome of the Morrison Planetarium in San Francisco (which opened in November 2010), and “Deep Space Adventure” in the 71-foot 8000 pixel across dome of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago (which opened in July 2011). In addition, UC-HIPACC staff provide information to print media and broadcast content creators, and facilitate the use of astronomical simulations in TV and film documentaries.

A new UC-HiPACC service, launched in January 2012, is its series of monthly “AstroShorts”—illustrated capsule stories of 350 to 450 words about especially fascinating work in computational astronomy, designed for use in the newsletters of astronomical societies, science clubs, newspapers, or other outlets.

As several UC campuses have major programs in digital arts and new media, UC-HIPACC is developing collaborations with them.

UC-HiPACC also responds to the entertainment industry. For example, we provided footage from the Bolshoi cosmological simulation to the Icelandic performer Björk for her musical number “Dark Matter” for her Biophilia concert, performed 2011.

We are also actively pursue fundraising in collaboration with groups at the UC campuses and national labs in order that UC-HIPACC can grow into a scientific center largely supported by outside funds.