Letter from the CEO
Well it's been a fast and furious beginning to the year and Chabot has certainly been living up to its reputation as "the go to place for earth and space.” First, in January, we launched our fabulous new Touch the Sun exhibit that uses near real time images from NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory to show us the electromagnetic power and glory of our closest star. The press was all over it with Bay Area ABC News dubbing the exhibit "a Sun-sational show” - and OK, bad puns notwithstanding, I do highly recommend a visit to see the exhibit and the Sun as you've never seen it.
In February, Chabot was again the focus of media attention when three astronomical events made the news and Chabot's astronomers provided explanation and context for what was happening. Within the space of just 48 hours they answered questions about the fireball and meteor that landed in the Bay Area; then the destructive meteor that had fallen in Russia just hours earlier; and finally they provided commentary on the much anticipated fly by of Asteroid 2012 DA14 that passed closer to Earth than the orbit of the Moon. It was a hectic few days for our astronomy experts (but to be honest I think they loved it!).
Of course, we also have some terrific astro-related events and programs happening here on Earth at the Center. Our wildly popular Future Friday speaker series opens its third season with Dr. Alex Filippenko giving a talk on Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Dr. Filippenko is a renowned Astrophysicist and was a member of the team that won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. Voted best professor on the UC Berkeley campus a record 9 times, Dr. Filippenko has a way of making the most complicated theory actually understandable, so I'm looking forward to an entertaining evening discovering the mysteries of the universe in his company. Later in the season, we have Astrobiologist Dr. Felisa Wolfe-Simon who will be talking about the chemical elements that can support microbial life on Earth and rounding out the first part of the season we'll meet Jim Capobianco, Derek Thompson and Jim O'Brien - three certified space nuts from Pixar Studios - who'll be exploring how story telling and science come together in the most natural of ways.
Also, this spring we are excited to be welcoming a team of 12 students from the Hong Kong Science Museum who are working with 12 members of our own Galaxy Explorers teen volunteers on a cultural exchange program sponsored by Museums Connect and the State Department. Their project, entitled The Digital Skies Student Partnership, has involved the teams working collaboratively via Skype meetings and Facebook groups, to develop three 15 minute planetarium shows that focus on the different influences in Eastern and Western astronomy and space exploration. On March 30, as one of the events on their itinerary, the teams will be showcasing their work to the public here at Chabot, in preparation for the presentation of the final shows during the return visit of the Chabot team to Hong Kong in June.
And don't forget to check out our fantastic Cosmos 360 live presentation in the digital-dome Planetarium. Inspired by Space, our new show opening at the end of March, looks at how art and astronomy have inspired each other... I know I'm definitely booking a seat for that one.
I do hope you’ll be able to come up and join us for some or all of these great events over the next few months, and of course, there’s a whole lot more going on that I don’t have room to talk about here. If you’d like to find out more go to our Visit Chabot page or even better - sign up for our monthly E-voyager newsletter.
Until next time...
All the best,
P.S. If you'd like to check out my occasional blog that explores how and why we decide what to believe, and the implications for science education and learning, you'll find my latest posting here: http://sciencewellsortof.blogspot.com/2013/02/science-well-sort-ofblah-blah-blah-part.html