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ICG Outreach News Items

Stargazing LIVE in January 2014

 The Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation is collaborating with locations at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (including HMS Warrior 1860 and Action Stations) once again to put on a massive Stargazing LIVE event, on Tuesday January 7th 2014.

Stargazing LIVE 2013 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard: Stargazing LIVE 2013 at Portsmouth Historic DockyardStargazing LIVE 2013 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard: Stargazing LIVE 2013 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

This year our event was selected by BBC Learning be one of three main national events tied into the successful BBC2 TV show. The event will be managed by BBC Learning and involve many partners, including ICG, who will be the main astronomy experts on hand to chat with the public. Visitors will get the chance to see amazing science demos, stunning images from the world’s best telescopes, and even try their hand at participating in massive citizen science projects.

Tickets are available via a lottery which is open until 11.55pm Tuesday 10 December. Visit www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours

A Visit from Space makes The News

Earlier this year, the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation launched a new free educational outreach activity in collaboration with the University of Portsmouth Education Liaison and Outreach Team (ELOT). "UP for Space: A Visit from Space" has visited five primary schools in the Portsmouth area since June 2013 (St Swithun's Catholic Primary School, Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School, Northern Parade Junior School, Portsmouth High Junior School and Charles Dickens Primary School), getting excellent enthusiasm and feedback from both pupils and teachers. Our latest visit to Charles Dickens Infant School on 3 December 2013 has been covered by the Portsmouth News and the University of Portsmouth News.

The core visiting team is composed of Claudia Maraston, Daniel Thomas and Jen Gupta, with help from other ICG members in turn, including David Wilkinson, Claire Le Cras, Edd Edmondson, Karen Masters, Tom Melvin and Jimmy Tarr. The visits are organised by Suzy Gray from ELOT who arranges the booking and timetable of the visit. The programme will visit more schools in 2014, if you are interested in A Visit from Space coming to your Key Stage 3 class then please contact the University of Portsmouth Education Liaison and Outreach Team.

A Visit from Space at Northern Parade Junior School. Credit: Northern Parade Junior School.A Visit from Space at Northern Parade Junior School. Credit: Northern Parade Junior School.

ICG researcher at the Female Knowledge Festival

PosterPosterICG member Claudia Maraston was invited to the first regional festival of "Female Knowledge" in northern Italy. The event, lasting two days and sponsored by the City Council, the regional council, the Illy Caffe' enterprise and the European Community, aimed at gathering successful female experts in various fields of knowledge, spanning from medicine to literature to academics, to tell their experience and answer questions from the public. Hosted in the city theatre, the event gathered hundreds of participants. The picture below shows four out of the eight invited speakers, from left to right: Marilena Capat, who writes best-selling turistic guides out of her own experience in european capitals, and lives in London; Miriam Blasich, cartoonist, who describes via cartoon the ancient traditions of the north-east and Istria using modern figures and language; Claudia Maraston (ICG), world-renowned astrophysicist; Marina Bortul, oncological surgeon, Head of the Surgeon Clinic of the Trieste hospital and full professor at the University. Female talentsFemale talents

The ICG-PGS Christmas Lecture 2013

The Portsmouth Grammar School and the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth present a free public lecture:

"Gravity: From Newton to Einstein and beyond"
Dr. Kazuya Koyama, Reader in Cosmology, ICG, University of Portsmouth

The Universe is expanding at an increasing rate, but is this really due to some mysterious "Dark Energy", or were these great scientists simply wrong about gravity?

Date: Monday 2nd December 2013
Time: 7.30pm
Location: Portsmouth Grammar School
Free tickets: Email j.thomas@pgs.org.uk to reserve a seat.

About 300 years ago, Newton theorised how gravity works and Newton’s theory is still used today to describe gravity in our daily life . In 1916, Einstein put forward his general theory of relativity and revolutionised our concepts of time and space. General relativity is now precisely tested in the Solar System and our modern technology such as the GPS relies on his theory. Einstein’s theory also provided the basis for our understanding of the Universe. In 1998, astronomers made a surprising discovery that the expansion of our Universe is accelerating. In the framework of Einstein's theory, the acceleration would originate from a mysterious “dark energy". Alternatively, there could be no dark energy and Einstein’s theory itself is in error on cosmological scales. In this talk, I give an overview of the development of our understanding of gravity and explain the exciting challenge facing modern scientists after nearly 100 years since Einstein proposed his theory of gravity.   

First outing for University of Portsmouth Astrodome

The Astrodome on its first outingThe Astrodome on its first outing

Today was a special day for ICG Outreach. Our new University of Portsmouth, ICG Astrodome had its first school outing.

Jen Gupta and Karen Masters took the dome to Portsmouth Grammar School to participate in their "Bright Sparks" Day. This event, run for the first time this year, brings gifted and talented children from years 2 and 4 to PGS for a day of curriculum enhancement activities. The year 4 group, consisting of 4 children from each of 9 primary schools across Portsmouth (including St Georges, St Judes, Cottage Grove, Windmore, Charles Dickens and others) and their teachers all enjoyed a dome show as part of their day.

Furthermore, both classes of Year 1 children from neighbouring St Judes Primary School also visited in the dome as part of their Space Themed activites this half term. They enjoyed a special short show for very young children, and will be getting a visit from David Bacon and Lado Samushia later in the term to learn more about space.

ICG at Bestival 2013

Three members of the ICG spent the first weekend of September 2013 at the Bestival music festival on the Isle of Wight engaging with a slightly different audience to usual! ICG Outreach Officer Jen Gupta and PhD students Cullan Howlett and Andreas Papadopoulos were joined by visiting student Lise du Buisson to run a stand in the Science Tent, where Southampton, Keele and Bournemouth Universities and the National Oceanography Centre were also exhibiting. In total the ICG team interacted with over 1200 festival-goers during the four days, getting them to think about the history and scale of the Universe.

Bestival Science Tent 2013Bestival Science Tent 2013

Two new outreach activities were developed by the team (and ICG student outreach rep David Wilkinson) to take to Bestival. The first was "Scale your Cosmos right", a card game based on the TV game show "Play your cards right". For this activity, six cards with different astronomical images were turned over and had to be placed in order of size, generating a lot of discussion (and arguments!) about the relative sizes of planets, stars, nebulae and galaxies. The second activity was tile puzzles of the CMB and a galaxy that had to be put back together. Attendees also had a chance to build the Universe with Lego, using the SEPnet Lego kit.

The ICG stand at Bestival 2013The ICG stand at Bestival 2013

Scale your Cosmos right at Bestival 2013Scale your Cosmos right at Bestival 2013

The team all had a great time at Bestival, even managing to see some of the music and comedy acts at the festival such as Franz Ferdinand, Snoop Dogg and Marcus Brigstocke. A big thank you is due to Anthony Gallagher from Southampton Solent University and Steve Dorney and Tony Curran from the University of Southampton for their work in organising the Science Tent. We hope to be back next year!

The ICG team at Bestival 2013The ICG team at Bestival 2013

All photos by Andreas Papadopoulos. See more photos on facebook (no login required)

ICG members involved in the new Intech Space Lecture series

Bob Nichol will deliver the first lecture of the new Intech Space Lecture series tomorrow evening (September 11th 2013). Bob will give a popular talk on "Supernovae, Dark Energy and Nobel Prizes". He is not the only ICG member giving such a lecture during the series as Claudia Maraston provides a lecture entitled "Shining Galaxies in a Dark Universe" on December 11th 2013. Get your tickets soon!

PGS student work experience at ICG

Fergus Houghton-Connell, a sixth form student from Portsmouth Grammar School, has been gaining work experience at the ICG for last 4 weeks. Fergus (center) has been helped by Chris D'Andrea (right), Andreas Papadopoulos (left) and (sometimes) Bob Nichol (photographer). Fergus spent his time looking at images of supernova host galaxies as well as making color images from the recently working Dark Energy Survey.

Secondary school pupils think bigger with the ICG

22 key stage 3 pupils from local schools joined ICG members Jen Gupta, Claire Le Cras and Rafal Szepietowski for the Think Bigger workshop last week (3 July), organised by the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation in collaboration with the University of Portsmouth Education Liaison and Outreach Team.

The morning began with an introduction talk that encouraged the attendees to start "thinking bigger" as they learnt about the planets, stars, galaxies and mysterious components (dark matter and dark energy) that make up the Universe. They were then given pictures of galaxies and asked to come up with their own classification schemes, before learning about the Hubble tuning fork and how professional astronomers classify galaxies. The final part of the workshop used an activity developed at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, in which they classified galaxies found in the Virgo cluster and made models showing the positions of these galaxies in the cluster. After the workshop the attendees were given the opportunity to put their questions to Jen, Claire and Rafal, with discussions ranging from whether aliens exist, to what would happen if you fell into a black hole.

ICG PhD students explain classification schemesICG PhD students discuss galaxy classification schemes

Making the Virgo ClusterMaking the Virgo Cluster

Pupils feedback to "A Visit from Space"

St. Swithuns pupils have expressed their gratitude to the ICG scientists who ran the first "Visit from Space" (see http://www.icg.port.ac.uk/node/3107), writing letters for each activity that was carried out. Very touching!
Letter for the 'Thermal Camera'Letter for the 'Thermal Camera'
Letter for the 'Galaxy Zoo'Letter for the 'Galaxy Zoo'
Letter for the 'Planets'Letter for the 'Planets'