If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ve read about my friend Nicole, aka Noisy Astronomer. She’s a young grad student studying radio astronomy at the University of Virginia (my alma mater!), and she’s very gung ho about astronomy outreach.
In a recent post about comets, I mentioned her and a project she and a bunch of other grads are working on: Dark Skies, Bright Kids. This is a terrific project that is doing a lot to bring the joy and wonder of astronomy to third graders in Albemarle County, the home of UVa (if you saw my show "Bad Universe" where I made the comet, I got that recipe from Nicole and DSBK!). One of their efforts is a bilingual book designed to make astronomy fun for the kids — I have a copy, and it’s very cute; as someone who has worked on astronomy education I know kids that age will love it. Nicole and her group have a big goal for the book, too: they’re looking to get a copy of it into the hands of every single third-grader in the county.
To do this, they applied for a Pepsi Refresh Grant, which, if they win, will get them $25,000! And you can help: all you have to do is go to the page and click a link to vote for them. To be fair, surf around and look at the other applicants if you want; there are other worthy efforts. But I’m voting for DSBK because I know how important it is to get kids to look up and have a sense of wonder about the Universe around them.
They also put together a short video of the children having fun while learning science:
Voting is open now, closes September 30, and once you sign up you can vote once per day. Thanks!
I read Noisy Astronomer’s blog every day — she’s a grad student at the University of Virginia, and of course known the world around as Nicole Hasenpfeffer.
Reading her blog today I found out it’s the birthday of the McCormick Observatory! This venerable observatory houses a 26 inch ‘scope that I used many times in my career at UVa, and I have many fond memories of it (and some not-so-fond, usually involving long cold nights at the eyepiece).
She also mentions that it’s Thomas Jefferson’s birthday too. I think I’ll celebrate by reading the Declaration of Independence. That’s seriously one of the finest examples of writing in the English language.
And oh, the third one? My brother, of course. Happy birthday Merril!