Cosmology Short Courses

Extreme Astronomy @ the Planetarium (2004)

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Cosmology Short Course for Planetarium Staff
September 24 - 26, 2004

Extreme Astronomy @ the Planetarium

Course Description
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Course Evaluation
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Cosmology Short Course for Planetarium Staff:
Extreme Astronomy @ the Planetarium

September 24 - 26, 2004
at the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum

Follow-Up Session: October 20, 2004
at the GLPA Meeting, Detroit, MI

29 participants, 12 instructors

M. Zingale et. al.

Course Evaluation

Summary of Participant Reactions

Quality & Usefulness

N = 23 (12 attended both 2003 & 2004 Cosmology Short Courses, 11 new; out of a total 29 participants)
Note: many participants had multiple responses, which were weighted equally in the totals (e.g., 0.5 each for two choices) for a number of Lickter scale questions, and/or blank responses, hence the total is not always 23.

Your impression of:ExcellentGoodAveFairPoor
Level 10.513.5   
- Overoll14.55.5   
- Accessible?1210   
- Clear?913   
- Relevance of topics?1751  
- Answers to audience ques?134   
Laboratory Exercises12.56.52 1
Handouts & Website16.54.5   

Should this course be offered again?

100% YES

Would you recommend future courses for planetarians on modern astrophysical topics?

100% YES

The goal of this course is to incorporate high energy astrophysics into planetarium programming. Do you think it will be met?

100% YES

Do you think this course will directly affect the contents of your planetarium shows? If so, how?

selected quotes

100% YES

  • As new shows are developed or old shows updated, the most current understanding and methodology can be used to replace outdated information.
  • For me, the best thin to come out of this course is a better understanding of how all of these separate topics relate to the big picture of our universe. I hope to include this in my future programming.
  • More detail on how information on high energy astronomy is gathered; and helping answer questions such as "How do we know that?"

The goal of this course is to incorporate high energy astrophysics into planetarium programming. Do you think it will be met? If so how?

selected quotes

100% YES

  • One of the most common questions that I get (and on of the most difficult to answer) is "How do we know this?" High energy physics give me some of the answers, which I hope to include in future shows.
  • School program production and public programs as well. I now have many more tools, visuals, etc. to fill the narrative time.
  • There is enough material here for a kick butt show, we just need the animations and time to write a script.

Additional Comments on Quality or Usefulness?

selected quotes

  • Thank you so much for this opportunity!
  • Overall the course was of high quality, bringing me up to date with current understanding of the observed objects and processes in the universe' and in showing that we still don't know the origin of cosmic rays so there are still mysteries to investigate.
  • In this modern age of multi-wavelength astronomical research, this course was very "front line" and relevant to the teaching world.
  • Speakers were great - a couple of them spoke way too fast. My absorption rate way behind speakers' speech rate. I know their brains were working faster than mine, but wish they would slow down a little.
  • Adler excellent location for the course.
  • Top notch! Well organized & constructed!
  • Really enjoyed exposure but for info to be more useful, I need time to integrate, discuss with my peers, have work time to interpret what we learned. Hands on time was very useful.

In what ways do you expect this course to be useful to you professionally?

selected quotes

  • Enhanced my knowledge in order to allow me to better create analogies the public can better grasp.
  • In the planetarium field it is easy to be distracted from the study of astronomy by the "headaches" of the planetarium theater & its operation and upkeep. Your short course is a "shot in the arm" and great "food for thought" & growth.
  • Mostly for the content, providing me with a better understanding that I can use to develop shows/activities/and analogies for a school or public audience.
  • Inspires me to add this content to our facilities programming.
  • In planetarium shows, I expect to be able to present much clearer & more detailed explanations of high energy topics.
  • Broadened my knowledge base, cleared out a lot of cobwebs, new tools to convey this information to students and the public alike, with enough good visuals to do so.
  • Keeping up to date on astrophysical topics! I constantly get questions about SN, blackholes, neutron stars etc.

How would you rate the importance of financial support of travel and housing?

Note: not all participants received financial support

6 - Somewhat, 16 - Critically

Comments on '04 course Vs '03 course?

Scale of 1 to 10:
rating [1] = much worse;
[10] = much better

selected quotes

  • [7] The facility and accommodations were much better, although it was good to see some of the experiments first hand at U. Chicago.
  • [8] Overall facilities better. Overall speakers more tuned in to the audience.
  • [5-4 both equally great!] I found the 2003 course was more interesting and I could relate to but hard to the public. This course gave me more small amount that I could relate in several areas compared to one large subject more difficult to relate to public. I enjoyed each equally important in their own way.
  • [4] 2003 offered great tours on campus, but limited Adler time. This year I missed the campus tours. Add another day for tours? Tours at night? Instead of dinner & play?
  • [8] 2004 seems less arduous and more comfortable in many aspects. Content was more challenging in 2003 and might be done in 2 sessions. Did enjoy the "lab" field trips a UC last year though. Not as "tech real" this year.

Any Additional Comments, Suggestions or Ideas

selected quotes

  • Thanks very much for this opportunity. The speakers were spectacular! Organization was very well done and I also wanted to thank the staff of Adler Planetarium!!!
  • Thank you for a wonderful job. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to meet and hear current speakers and information in a setting where we can ask questions. This allows us all to keep current and provide accurate information on a current basis to students and the public alike. There are very few places to receive information like this at this level.


UChicago Department of Physics
UChicago Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
Enrico Fermi Institute

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Last update: April 11, 2005