Europlanet Science Congress 2020
Virtual meeting
21 September – 9 October 2020
Europlanet Science Congress 2020
Virtual meeting
21 September – 9 October 2020

Poster presentations and abstracts

ODAA1

The benefits of diversity and inclusiveness in the scientific community are incontrovertible. This session aims to foster debate within the planetary sciences community about the reasons behind under-representation of different groups (gender, cultural, ethnic origin and national) and best practices to make the research environment more inclusive identifying and addressing barriers to equality.

We invite abstracts focusing on: under-representation (gender, cultural, ethnic origin and nationality biases) supported by statistics and data; outreach and education activities to reach broad and diverse audiences, best practices to support inclusiveness; and case studies on mentoring and bias-concerned activities.

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Convener: Arianna Piccialli | Co-conveners: Lena Noack, Edgard Rivera-Valentin

Session assets

Session summary

Chairperson: Lena Noack
EPSC2020-629ECP
Dimitrios Athanasopoulos, Kosmas Gazeas, Sofia Palafouta, Maria Panagopoulou, Konstantina Vrontaki, and Argiro Papadami

Abstract

Planets In Your Hand is a science education program, that consists of a portable interactive exhibition of eight planetary surface models. The program offers the visitors a tactile experience and the opportunity to understand the diversity of the planetary surfaces in our Solar System. The planetary models have been exhibited in a series of public events since their construction in 2018 and have been visited by a wide range of audience, including visually impaired people. The project is still running, while Planets In Your Hand team is working on improvements, that foresee to a greater social and educational impact. The current work summarizes the social impact of the program through the visitors’ questionnaires, comments and impressions.

1. Introduction

Planets In Your Hand (PIYH) is a science communication project, initiated at the Department of Physics of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA). Its purpose is to reach individuals, that do not have any previous interaction with the field, trigger their interest to interactively participate in scientific activities and public events and eventually bring them closer to science and contribute in lifelong learning. This is mainly attempted through a visual and tangible representation of the planetary environments and morphologies in our Solar System (Kefala et al., 2018), that also benefits visually impaired people.

The success of PIYH project is established by the Science Communication Award (EΠI2 Award 2019) in the category of “Awareness Activities and Campaigns”.

PIYH program is a non-formal learning experience, the importance of which is widely accepted and supported by the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996). The way science communication is organized and planned as well as the visitor’s intrinsic motivation for learning (Eshach 2007) declares this an indisputable fact.

2. Data Collection

In order to evaluate the social impact of the PIYH project, questionnaires were filled out by the visitors after their conceivable journey to our Solar System. Multiple-choice questions and a comment section were included. The goal was to examine whether the exhibition provides an overall positive experience to the visitors and to find possible ways to improve its presentation.

The planetary models have been exhibited in a series of public events (Fig. 1) since the beginning of the program (Palafouta et al., 2019). This research was conducted during two major events where PIYH was presented. These are the opening of the exhibition and the Athens Science Festival 2019.

Oral impressions and evaluations for every event were also made directly by the members of the PIYH team that presented the planetary surfaces. They were based on the reactions and the comments of the visitors and were really helpful. PIYH program is a non-formal learning experience, the importance of which is widely accepted and supported by the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996). The way science communication is organized and planned as well as the visitor’s intrinsic motivation for learning (Eshach 2007) declares this an indisputable fact.

3. The social impact

The questionnaire provided an overall positive feedback by the visitors. As shown in Fig. 2 the majority (97.5 %) of the visitors were pleased with PIYH project and the exhibition. Early ages (≤23 years old) occupy great percentage (61 %) of the visitors, while the rest include individuals, parents or educators.

The overwhelming majority of the participants (98.5%) would recommend the exhibition to a friend, enhancing the social impact of the project, while many parents and educators mentioned that this project can trigger new generations to engage with Astrophysics and science in general.

More than 47% of the visitors shared their impressions through additional comments. Positive remarks were given, for the exhibition and its presentation by the PIYH team members.

Visually impaired people commented positively, mentioning that exhibitions in general do not offer tangible experience, and they are limited to an oral, acoustic or pre-recorded presentation. PIYH exhibition gave them for the first time the sense of planetary scale, surface characteristics and the unique opportunity to interact with planetary surfaces.

A wide range of reactions was perceived by the PIYH team members during the events with respect to the visitor’s background in astrophysics.

Regardless of their age, people who were getting in touch with Planetary Science for the first time were curious to touch and feel the surface’s differences, asking questions about the internal and external structure and the atmospheric phenomena of each planet. Those who had scientific background, combined facts and knowledge from their own scientific field with the information provided during the events.

On the other hand, visitors familiar with astronomy and planetary science expressed more elaborate questions, many of which concerned the current research on space exploration.

4. Summary and Conclusions

This research has shown that people of different age and scientific background can be brought together through an interactive and tangible educational experience. PIYH exhibition is considered a pleasant and memorable experience according to the conducted analysis. The project attracted individuals that have no previous interaction with the field of Planetary Science, triggering their interest and brought together people who are already interested or contribute to science. PIYH project makes this learning experience accessible to visually impaired people, encouraging this way the local community to create similar activities. It is an alternative, creative and interesting way of learning about our Solar System. Similar projects can be inspired by PIYH program and engage the general public in science through a pleasant and cognitively successful way, enhancing the communication of science in many fields.

References

[1]  Eshach, H., 2007, Journal of Science Education and Technology, 16, 171-190.

[2]  Kefala, K., et al., 2018, EPSC2018,1251-2.

[3]  National Research Council, 1996.National Science Education Standards. Washington DC: National Academy Press.

[4]  Palafouta, S., et al., 2019, EPSC-DPS2019, 1816-1

How to cite: Athanasopoulos, D., Gazeas, K., Palafouta, S., Panagopoulou, M., Vrontaki, K., and Papadami, A.: PLANETS IN YOUR HAND: The social impact of a tactile experience, Europlanet Science Congress 2020, online, 21 September–9 Oct 2020, EPSC2020-629, https://doi.org/10.5194/epsc2020-629, 2020

EPSC2020-1084ECP
| MI
Claudia Antolini, Osnat Katz, and Helen Usher

 

There is a growing body of work on equity, diversity and inclusivity within professional astronomy [1] [2] [3], [4] [5][6][7]. Collaborations between amateur and professional astronomers (pro-am collaborations) are on the rise. But the literature on equity, diversity and inclusivity within amateur astronomy is still sparse. It is increasingly important to understand the makeup of the amateur astronomical communities, and the barriers to wider involvement. In this day and age, astronomy should belong to everyone, and everyone should feel like they belong. 

 

The demographics of astronomy societies and online astronomical communities, including adjacent communities such as citizen scientists, appears skewed towards being mostly white and male, e.g. in the Galaxy Zoo project there was an observed 82:18 male:female ratio [8]. Anecdotal evidence for usage of astronomy forums and sites again suggests a ratio of 80:20 male:female at best. For the Rosetta Mission Amateur Observing Campaign over 90% of observers were male. 

 

It is now established [9] that this should not be ascribed to a lack of interest in astronomy (or science in general) in different audiences. Rather, it is driven by the subtle biases that persist in associating only white males with a science interest [10] and the multiple ways in which these biases discourage traditionally under-represented demographics in engaging with science and engineering [11][12]. Traditionally under-represented people face the challenge of not being able to build a strong science identity.

 

Work is underway to quantify the scale of the issue of bullying and harassment in astronomy e.g. the recently completed Royal Astronomical Society survey [13].

 

Is astronomy unwelcoming to under-represented groups? Is the problem that the fewer under-represented people who are part of the initial pool then do not feel welcomed when they join, fuelling a vicious circle?

 

We investigate the demographics, and the attitudes and experiences of members of the amateur astronomy community in the UK, through surveys distributed through traditional institutions, online forums and groups, and social media. The results will be presented in an interactive poster, and we will use the interactive, virtual nature of the meeting to stimulate a wider discussion within the community.  

 

[1]      C. Cesarsky and H. Walker, “Head count: Statistics about women in astronomy,” Astron. Geophys., vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 2.33-2.36, Mar. 2010.

[2]      R. Massey, A. Drake, S. Kanani, and S. McWhinnie, “Our scientific community in 2016,” Astron. Geophys., vol. 58, no. 6, pp. 6.14-6.17, Dec. 2017.

[3]      M. Allen, “White males dominate UK astronomy,” Phys. World, vol. 31, no. 2, p. 9, 2018.

[4]      J. Dyer, A. Townsend, S. Kanani, P. Matthews, and A. Palermo, “Exploring the workplace for LGBT+ physical scientists,” R. Soc. Chem. Inst. Physics, R. Astron. Soc., p. https://www.rsc.org/campaigning-outreach/campaigni, 2019.

[5]      A. M. Porter et al., “Women in physics and astronomy,” Phys. Teach., vol. 57, no. 5, pp. 292–292, Jan. 2019.

[6]      V. Maguire-Rajpaul, H. Jermak, S. Kanani, J. T. Van Loon, and S. Habergham-Mawson, “Equality, diversity and inclusion perspectives,” Astron. Geophys., vol. 60, no. 5, pp. 40–42, Oct. 2019.

[7]      K. B. H. Clancy, K. M. N. Lee, E. M. Rodgers, and C. Richey, “Double jeopardy in astronomy and planetary science: Women of color face greater risks of gendered and racial harassment,” Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, vol. 122, no. 7. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, pp. 1610–1623, 01-Jul-2017.

[8]      M. Jordan Raddick et al., “Galaxy zoo: Motivations of citizen scientists,” Astron. Educ. Rev., vol. 12, no. 1, Mar. 2013.

[9]      J. R. Cimpian, T. H. Kim, and Z. T. McDermott, “Understanding persistent gender gaps in STEM,” Science (80-. )., vol. 368, no. 6497, pp. 1317–1319, Jun. 2020.

[10]    B. A. Nosek et al., “National differences in gender-science stereotypes predict national sex differences in science and math achievement,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., vol. 106, no. 26, pp. 10593–10597, Jun. 2009.

[11]    B. Wong, S. Kelsall Greener, and J. Woydack, “ASPIRES Young People’s science and careers aspirations, age 10-14,” 2013.

[12]    A. MacDonald, “‘Not for people like me?’ under-represented groups in science, technology and engineering,” no. November 2014, p. 1‒32, 2014.

[13]    RAS, “RAS Harassment and Bullying Survey The Royal Astronomical Society,” 2020. [Online]. Available: https://ras.ac.uk/education-and-careers/ras-harassment-and-bullying-survey. [Accessed: 30-Jun-2020].

 

How to cite: Antolini, C., Katz, O., and Usher, H.: Astronomy for All - All for Astronomy? A Pilot Study of Amateur Astronomy Community Attitudes and Experiences, Europlanet Science Congress 2020, online, 21 September–9 Oct 2020, EPSC2020-1084, https://doi.org/10.5194/epsc2020-1084, 2020

EPSC2020-1099
Marina Molla

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to present the creative outcome after working on a space related project for a year using an interdisciplinary approach and inquiry based learning. It involved 16 6th graders of a Minority Primary School in Komotini, Greece that were inspired to make their own Planetarium out of paper and a wooden skeleton. Our goal was to show what students had learnt and to inspire other children in our school, in minority and public schools and the local community about space and astronomy.

1. Introduction

The project was implemented in the 2nd Minority Primary School of Komotini which is located in the northeastern part of Greece. Komotini is a multicultural and multilingual city. The population consists of Christians and Muslims. The students of Minority Schools are Muslims and the School program is bilingual and consists of Greek and Turkish language program. The curriculum follows the articles of the Treaty of Lausanne and the Educational Protocols that followed the Treaty.

2.Teaching Approach

“Our Planetarium Story” was the creative outcome of an astronomy inspired project that was implemented with an interdisciplinary approach and inquiry based learning. Astronomy was chosen as the theme because it triggers their curiosity, imagination, and creativity [2]. It motivates and engages both boys and girls in the learning procedure and therefore can be used to promote gender balance in the classroom. Furthermore, interdisciplinary teaching helps students understand connections between different science disciplines and enables them to apply their knowledge in different settings [1]. The inquiry based learning approach has been widely advocated and implemented to reverse students’ lack of interest in and enjoyment of science and also involves students working in a way similar to that of scientists [1].

3. Classroom Context

The classroom consisted of 16 6th graders, 4 boys and 12 girls. One of the students was a student with special needs and therefore there was an assistant teacher in the classroom.

4.Procedure

Astronomy is part of the curriculum of the 6th grade of the Greek language program of the Minority Schools of Thrace. Specifically there is a unit in the Greek language book called “Space”. The History textbook discusses the History of Great Explorers and Navigation while the Geography textbook is about Planet Earth, Orientation, Navigation and Mapping. The aim to be inclusive and enhance the students to express themselves and boost their self-confidence led four of  the teachers of the Greek language program to collaborate and in particular the teacher of Greek language, the teacher of secondary courses, the Physical Education teacher and the assistant teacher. Astronomy was introduced in the classroom and the scene was set for inquiry as questions were raised. Students in teams inquired about them under the guidance of their teachers and presented what they had found in the plenary of the classroom. The student with the special needs was involved too especially when it concerned new technologies. Furthermore the students made connections between the subjects and were eager to express and transfer what they had learnt.

5. Creative outcome

Fascinated by Astronomy they decided to make a Planetarium and inspire other children too.  We followed the detailed instructions for making a Cardboard Planetarium from Beals Science. We slightly altered the design and made it out of paper and a wooden skeleton in order to keep the cost as low as possible. The Planetarium is a Geodesic Dome that has a diameter of 5m and height of 3m and consists of six pentagons, five hexagons and five half hexagons. Students in teams measured wooden slats and angles to make the skeleton and measured and cut the surface area of the paper to put on the wooden skeleton of the pentagons and the hexagons. Our classroom resembled a carpenter‘s shop. Making the Planetarium was a workshop of Mathematics, Geometry and Engineering while making the presentation for the dome was a History, Mythology, Geography and Drama workshop. Our presentation was about navigation and orientation with the stars, the night sky and the constellations, the solar system and the galaxy. We used free online timelapse videos and Stellarium a free open source planetarium software. It took us about two months to make the Planetarium. They were so eager and passionate about it that they suggested to meet and work at school at weekends during the second month. Our goal was to show our work and inspire with this Planetarium made by children other children and our community about Astronomy. In June of 2018 we set it up in the amphitheatre of the 4th Gymnasium of Komotini which welcomed and hosted us. We showed it to our whole school (125 students) and to 6th graders of two Minority and two Public Schools (120 students). The mothers of the 6th graders visited us too and enjoyed seeing their children’s work and passionate presentation. During Space week 2018 it was set up again for the students of the 4th Gymnasium (350 students). In May 2019 for three days it was set up again in the Minority High School of Komotini as part of the city’s festival. Presentations were given to the students of the hosting school (820 students) and in the evening to families of our community (270 parents and children).

6. Discussion

The implementation of this project affected positively all the students and the teachers involved. It was an inclusive project that boosted student’s engagement, creativity, self-esteem and made them get initiative and reach the local community by presenting their work and what they had learnt about space. To what concerns the number of teachers collaborating in our school it has grown. In addition there was collaboration between Public Schools and Minority Schools. The interaction between the children, the teachers, the schools and the community is very important and all of them benefited through it.

Acknowledgements

I would like to acknowledge Eleftheria Tsoulidaki, researcher at Ellinogermaniki Agogi, Greece, for her guidance and support.

References

[1] Hanover Research.: Best practices in elementary STEM programs. Washington, DC: Hanover Research, 2012.

[2] Percy, J.R.: Teaching Astronomy: Why and How?,  JAAVSO, Vol. 35, pp. 248-254, 2006.

How to cite: Molla, M.: Our Planetarium Story, Europlanet Science Congress 2020, online, 21 September–9 Oct 2020, EPSC2020-1099, https://doi.org/10.5194/epsc2020-1099, 2020

EPSC2020-184
Arianna Piccialli

Background

Wikipedia is an open source, web-based encyclopedia, and allows anonymous and registered users to edit and create articles. This means that anyone can create, edit and improve articles. However, several studies have shown the most of Wikipedia editors are male (See Fig. 1). In addition, there are fewer and less developed articles about women, especially in STEM [1].

Figure 1: Wikipedia editors are predominantly male (Source: Wikipedia)

In October 2014, only 15.53% of English Wikipedia's biographies were about women [2]. Founded in July 2015, the WikiProject Women in Red has the objective to increase this percentage, which has reached 18.46% as of 2 June 2020 [1].

Today, Wikipedia is within the 20 most popular website [3] and every month it attracts more than 1 billion unique visitors [4]. Wikipedia can therefore give a huge contribution to change the perception the general public has about who is doing science and how a scientist looks like.

My experience

In May 2020, I was selected to participate in the 500 Women Scientists Wiki Scholar [5] program May-June 2020. My initial objective was to promote and contribute to biographies of women planetary scientists. It was a surprise then to discover that the total number of planetary scientists’ articles on the English Wikipedia is only 189, of which 48 women (25%). This percentage is in agreement with the percentage of women in the International Astronomical Union from all ESA’s Member State (24%), which can give us an indication of the percentage of women in the field [6].

One of the reasons of this paucity could be that planetary scientists’ biographies are already on Wikipedia, but they are categorized under “astronomers” or “astrophysicists” and not as “planetary scientist”. A second reason could be that planetary scientists’ articles simply do not exist on Wikipedia.

Let’s organize an Edit-a-thon!

An Edit-a-thon (edit marathon) is an organized event where editors edit and improve a specific topic. I would like to encourage the planetary community as a whole to organize an Edit-a-thon focusing on creating content regarding (women) planetary scientists’ biographies. This could be done both as a live or virtual event. Special attention should be devoted to minorities or under-represented groups of people.

Acknowledgment

I would like to express my gratitude to 500 Women Scientists Wiki Scholar for the opportunity they gave me. A special thank you goes to Ryan McGrady, Ian Ramjohn and Elysia Webb from the Wiki Education Foundation to let me discover the “world” of Wikipedia.

References

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_Red

[2] Eduardo Graells-Garrido, Mounia Lalmas, Filippo Menczer, "First Women, Second Sex: Gender Bias in Wikipedia", arXiv, 9 February 2015, p. 3.

[3] "Wikipedia.org Traffic, Demographics and Competitors". www.alexa.com. Retrieved October 1, 2019.

[4] https://stats.wikimedia.org/#/all-wikipedia-projects

[5] https://wikiedu.org/500-women-wiki-scientists/

[6] Piccialli A., et al., “Participation of women scientists in ESA Solar System missions: an historical trend”, submitted to Advances in Geosciences (ADGEO).

How to cite: Piccialli, A.: Where are (women) planetary scientists on Wikipedia?, Europlanet Science Congress 2020, online, 21 September–9 Oct 2020, EPSC2020-184, https://doi.org/10.5194/epsc2020-184, 2020