University of Louisville Magazine

SUM 2018

The University of Louisville Alumni Magazine: for alumni, faculty, staff, students and anyone that is a UofL Cardinal fan.

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Astronomy on Tap, an event series that originated in New York City in 2014, was brought to Louisville the following year by Gerard Williger, a physics and astronomy asso- ciate professor. When Williger arrived at UofL in 2005, he was one of only a few astronomers at the university and wanted to use Astronomy on Tap as a way to increase awareness of the astronomy program. "I had a desire to build up our program through public outreach," he said. Astronomy on Tap is held once a month at Monnik Beer Company where participants can enjoy local brews while learning about topics ranging from interstellar dust's role in the galaxy to the science behind multiverses. Brain building Brain Days is the brainchild of Kristopher Rau, senior research associate in UofL's Department of Anesthesiology and past president of the Louisville Chapter of the Society for Neurosci- ence. The annual, two-day event was started in 2017 and is held at the Kentucky Science Center. It features hands-on activities designed to edu- cate families about neuroscience. "I've had a passion for community service and science and I wanted to combine my pas- sions through this program," said Rau. "We try to develop a variety of different stations that can reach several target audiences." The 2018 event featured 88 volunteers and 24 stations on all three floors of the science center. Activities included: Building a neuron us- ing pipe cleaners, Styrofoam balls, and beads; constructing a card- board brain hat; and putting together a gi- ant spine puzzle. Col- lectively, the Brain Days scientists and cli- nicians logged more than 415 volunteer hours to ex- pose over 1,700 visitors to neu- roscience. "I feel that instilling a culture of science out- reach is so important at UofL," said Rau. "From my perspective, our outreach program benefits everyone who is involved. It benefits the pub- lic by advancing science literacy. It gets kids of all backgrounds excited about neuroscience and it breaks down that 'ivory tower' and helps the public see us for who we are — a group who, while not always perfect, are regular people trying to do our jobs to advance medicine and improve everyone's health." Out-of-this-world education UofL's Owsley Brown ll Portable Planetarium was originally created to alleviate some of the logisti- cal hassles and financial constraints of student field trips. With the help of an advisory board and donors, the portable planetarium was funded in 2012. The programming for the portable plan- etarium is connected to K–12 science content standards that were developed by states to improve science education for students, but is also customizable depending on the location of the portable planetarium and the curriculum instructors want taught. The portable planetar- ium regularly visits elementary, middle and high schools, and occasionally makes appearances at community festivals and events. "The value the portable planetarium offers to the commu- nity is evidenced by the increased number of bookings from year to year," said Thomas Tretter, director of the Gheens Sci- ence Hall & Rauch Planetarium. "Educators appreciate how easily their students grasp complex, difficult concepts in this unique, visually-rich environment." The portable planetarium features an inflat- able domed ceiling with a projection system that provides participants virtually the same experience they'd have at the planetarium located on the university's Belknap Campus. "Viewing the portable planetarium brought the universe to life for our students at Valley High," said Alicia Gruenwald, biology and chem- istry teacher at Valley High School. "Surrounded by the stars, students envisioned the cosmos through new eyes. This experience led students to deeper understanding and new questions." Psyched about research Psych 410, a Psychology Department course al- so known as "giving psychology away at the Uni- versity of Louisville" allows students majoring in psychology to share what they have learned with children in the community. Students in the class design and share with schoolchildren demonstrations of psycholog- ical findings for an event called "Get Psyched." The first event was held on UofL's campus in 2016 but has since moved off campus to local schools including Shelby Traditional Acad- emy, a public elementary school close to campus. Over the years, "Get Psyched" activities have covered topics such as spatial navigation, taste perception, delayed auditory feedback, and conformity. "I think it's a win-win," said Judith Danovitch, associate professor in UofL's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and instructor of the course. "It gives students an opportunity to show off what they've learned and it gives kids in the community a chance to learn about psychology in a way they might not normally experience." The last "Get Psyched" event had upwards of 50 attendees from more than 20 different zip codes. Children and parents participated in eight different student-led demonstrations and a research study, and they had the chance to learn how psychology impacts their daily lives. Astronomy on Tap at Monnik Beer Company. A crowd enters the Portable Planetarium during community festival. 45 SUMMER 2018

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