Astronomy Education

The Radcliffe 24/18-inch refractor at ULO

I am personally committed to the teaching of astronomy and planetary science, and to the public understanding of science generally. I believe that researchers ought actively to contribute to the teaching of their subject at all levels, and I have experience of teaching astronomy and planetary science at university (undergraduate and postgraduate), adult evening classes, and as a visiting speaker at secondary and primary schools. I currently teach Geology of the Solar System I, Foundations of Astronomy, Introduction to Astrobiology, and Physical Principles of Astronomy for Birkbeck College London.

I regard inspiring school children with the wonders of astronomy as particularly important, both as an integral part of science education and because I think important social and political consequences follow from a proper understanding of the cosmic perspective. For this reason I am a member of the The Association for Astronomy Education, under the auspices of which I compiled a list of professional astronomers who are prepared to give school talks (now maintained by the Royal Astronomical Society. I have outlined the rationale behind this initiative in ``Wanderers in space: the case for peripatetic astronomy teachers,'' Astronomy Now, 5(10), 54, (1991). I was President of the Society for Popular Astronomy for 2006-8.

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