When: July 14-21 2013
Where: Laramie, Wyoming
Cost: $500. Room and meals other than dinner included.
Who: About 12-15 attendees selected by the workshop instructors.
Launch Pad is an education/public outreach effort supplementing Mike Brotherton’s space-based astronomical research. Our primary goal is to teach writers, editors, and those with audiences of all types about modern science, specifically astronomy, and in turn reach their audiences. We hope to both educate the public and inspire the next generation of scientists. Therefore selection will be based in part on audience size as demonstrated through print runs, downloads, or sales figures when available. Secondary considerations will include the content and potential of applicant work — to what extent science in general and astronomy in particular are likely to be a significant factor in their future publications. Applicants should address these points when they apply. Several slots will be reserved for the strongest minority/female applicants who may have additional promise in reaching groups less represented in both the physical sciences and hard science fiction.
We will provide lodging in the university dormitory with easy access to both downtown Laramie and the University campus where most Launch Pad activities will transpire. Daily snacks, breakfast, coffee, and lunch will be provided.
Participants will generally be on their own for dinner. Local restaurants provide a range of cuisines from vegetarian to carnivore.
Other lecturers include University of Wyoming professor and author Michael S. Brotherton, PhD., as well as a number of other faculty members.
While we did not charge tuition in the past, and were even able to offer travel stipends to many participants, our grant money has expired and has been increasingly difficult to secure in the current federal budget environment. We now charge $500 that is put toward dorms, food, local transportation, and some other small expenses. The instructors are volunteers and not paid.
Evaluations from past attendees:
We give participants pre and post tests in astronomy every year, as well as evaluation forms for more general feedback. The most recent 2011 and 2012 evaluations indicated an overall high satisfaction with the workshop, individual presenters, and the overall organization (>85% satisfaction). They also indicated through the survey instrument that they greatly increased their astronomy content knowledge and their ability to recognize misconceptions (this number was 85% if one very knowledgeable outlier is excluded). There was a high positive response (>85%) to their newly developed awareness of and interest in the educational implications of their work. The response was 100% positive when asked if the workshop was worthwhile, met their expectations, and whether they would recommend it to others. Some typical comments were: ‘…wonderful collegial atmosphere’, ‘I don’t know how to thank you’, ‘Lots of very cool science, great presentations’, and ‘…presentation of material, top notch.’