On March 13, two interactive videoconferences themed Our Changing Planet: Past and Present were sponsored by the International Polar Year (IPY) and ASTC’s IGLO initiative. A program of presentations by polar scientists and students was developed in partnership with NASA, MAGPI (an Internet2 consortium), and seven science centers from all over the world. Dr. Robert Bindschadler, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, United States, spoke to both groups about IPY and its first major scientific outcome, the new Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA). “It is wonderful to be able to talk to so many young people in the world at once, including those who are watching us,” he said in his opening remarks. “The technological advances that allow us to develop events like this give scientists the chance to speak directly to the youth. As polar researchers, we can communicate what we do, why we do it, and why we should care. This is an opportunity to show that scientific research is fun and satisfying and to inspire students consider choosing careers in science and engineering.”
Students worked with Monash Science Centre, Melbourne, Australia; the Chinese Network Information Center at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; Universum-UNAM, Mexico City, Mexico; the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, United States; the Pavilion of Knowledge–Ciencia Viva, Lisbon, Portugal; the Planetarium Science Centre at the Bibiliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt; and Techniquest, Cardiff, Wales.Ranging from ages 7 through 19, all students exhibited a passion for science and a willingness to address climate change. Using creative means of communication, they gave PowerPoint presentations, performed live demonstrations, and showed videos that they had animated themselves. Their contributions are archived in the IGLO Toolkit for use as an educational resource.
During Q&A sessions that followed each site’s presentations and concluded each videoconference, it was evident that dialogue is possible between scientists and students and also among young people of all nationalities. One Portuguese student who had traveled with Students on Ice said, “We all have the same issues and same concerns.” For more information about this event and how to participate in future videoconferences, please visit the IGLO web site or send an email to email@example.com.
About the image: A view of Antarctica using LIMA.