IYA2009 news from Puerto Rico

25 December 2009

Puerto Rico has been very busy with IYA2009 activities recently, writes SPoC Carmen A. Pantoja.

We received the From Earth To The Universe (FETTU) Travelling Exhibit during the month of November. We moved the panels to three locations, and displayed the Braille panels at the school for blind children (2 days).

November 3 - 7:
We had a successful first exhibition at the Interamerican University at Bayamón, Puerto Rico (November 3 -7, 2009). The event was organised by Prof. Dorcas Torres. The student volunteers helped with the events, serving as guides to the exhibit, distributing materials and as guides at the demonstration tables. Several physics demonstrations were presented with the concepts of waves and light. Special conferences (3) on astronomy were organised. One activity was to draw your favourite image. The public included students from the university, University employees, general visitors, students from local schools, teachers and senior groups (more than 1000 persons).
Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37028095@N07/sets/72157622652380695/

November 10 - 14:
The Travelling FETTU Exhibit was displayed at Mayagüez, Puerto Rico (Nov 10, 12-14) (Eugene Francis Hall of the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus). Some 700 persons visited the exhibit including teachers, students, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, college students and professors. The visitors were offered guided tours of the exhibits by Dr. Juan González Lagoa, Prof. Dolores Balzac, Prof. Sandra Troche, and volunteer students from the Society of Physics Students and the amateur society "Sociedad de Astronomia del Caribe". Students from the programme "Science on Wheels" presented Science demonstrations and a special exhibit from the Seismic Network of Puerto Rico was presented by their Outreach Staff. 60 Teachers from the Educators Resource Center also visited the FETTU exhibit. Additional photos can be seen at the following address: http://ltp.upr.clu.edu/astrolab/IYA2009/fotos_UPR_Mayaguez.html

November 17 - 27:
The Travelling FETTU Exhibit was displayed at Río Piedras, Puerto Rico (Nov 17 - 27, 2009) at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. More than 1000 persons visited the exhibit (students, professors, University employees, school children, and families). Visiting schools were offered guided tours of the exhibit. A Family Day took place on Sunday November 22 with guided tours, activities for the children (astronomy puzzles, How to Build a Solar Clock). For the family there was an educational Bingo denominated A Jugar con Galileo” (Let's Play with Galileo) and the presentation of the NASA/ESA/ASI movie Ring World 2 about the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and its moons. On Nov 23-24 the Tactile and Braille Panels were displayed at the library of the School for Blind Children: Instituto Loaiza Cordero para Niños Ciegos”. On Nov 24, Ms. Gloria Isidro made a presentation about the IYA2009 and adapted astronomy materials for students and teachers of the school. Photos are here: http://ltp.upr.clu.edu/astrolab/IYA2009/fotos_UPR_RP.html

December 3, 2009:
The concert The Planets was presented again, this time at the UPR Río Piedras campus. More than 1000 persons came to this event in which the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra performed while the Video Suite form Adler Planetarium was displayed. http://www.flickr.com/photos/37028095@N07/sets/72157623012301026/

December 7 - 11, 2009:
The University of Puerto Rico at Bayamón became a participant of the International Year of Astronomy, with two concurrent activities: The Exhibition of FETTU collection of Images "Life of the Stars" from 7 to 11 December 2009 at the Mezzanine of the Library. The conference: "Aliens and Extraterrestrial Life" by Dr. Daniel Altschuler, former Director of Arecibo Observatory, and the presentation of his book "Aliens, Humans, Gods and Stars", held on 8 December to 11:30 am, at the facilities of the UPR Bayamón. This Conference attracted the attention of about 100 attendees, including students, teachers and general public. The presence of Chancellor Dr. Arturo Avilés González raised the profile of activity. Given the proximity of the Exhibition dates to the dates of final exams there was a large amount of students at the library, so it is estimated that over 2000 students walked by the images, many looking at them closely. These activities were organised by the Department of Physics, UPR Bayamón, under the direction of Dr. Javier Ávalos, Director of the Physics Department and sponsored by the  Puerto Rico NASA Space Grant Consortium. Photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/37028095@N07/sets/72157622883462771/

December 3, 2009:
Open House” at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus for High School students. The invited schools were from locations adjacent to the University. Hundreds of students visited the Natural Sciences Faculty. A display with the theme of the Moon was presented to the students as well as information about the IYA2009. The students received a NASA lithograph about Meteorites (http://ltp.upr.clu.edu/astrolab/IYA2009/Reto/meteoritos.pdf) and a lithograph about Careers in Science (http://ltp.upr.clu.edu/astrolab/IYA2009/Reto/cientificos.pdf).

December 18, 2009:

Closing Event for the IYA2009. The groups that have collaborated in making the IYA2009 in Puerto Rico a success will gather at the Interamerican University of Bayamón for a Closing Event.

Organisational Associates:

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is endorsed by the United Nations and the International Council of Science.