The Light Activity
Designed in collaboration with Alexa Villaume, another graduate student at UCSC.
This activity involves teaching local high school students about how astronomers study light from distant objects to infer the physical laws of the universe. We set up numerous arc lamps that contain a single-element gas. The students, working in groups, make observations of the different elements and determine what elements the spectral signatures correspond to by comparing their observations with a spectral list of several elements. Their job is to work together and decide the elements that correspond with each lamp.
This activity is aimed for middle- to early high- school students. Our goals are to teach these students that observational astronomers use light to study objects in space, how astronomers infer properties of these objects by studying the light they emit, the scientific method, and working in a collaborative setting. We target under-resourced and alternative schools.
If you would like us to present this activity in your classroom please contact me at alrosen (at) ucsc.edu
I was an author for the astronomy blog www.astrobites.com from 2011-2013. This site has daily paper summaries for top astronomical research. These summaries are written by graduate students and intended for both an undergraduate astronomy audience and the public.
I enjoy giving public talks to both high school and college students where I discuss my exciting research and also my unconventional path into astronomy. The goal of these talks is to encourage students to consider a college education even if they do not have the financial means or grades to think that it’s possible. I also aim to get students excited about science, astrophysics, and computer science.
I’ve also designed a talk entitled “How to Make Massive Stars on a (Super)Computer” which I have presented to college and high school students and local astronomy clubs. It describes my research but also focuses on how astronomers use large numerical simulations to study the Universe.
If you have any interest in me presenting one of these talks to your students please email me at alrosen_at_ucsc.edu.