Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Black Holes for Kids

Kids are naturally drawn to the mysterious and unknown, so kids and black holes are a great fit. But just how would a young person go about learning about these intriguing predictions of Einstein's general relativity? Easy, just visit the new web resource: http://www.scienceface.org/.

Scienceface.org is a joint education project of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, Germany and Milde Science Communication. The site has begun releasing a series of fifteen 10-minute film clip interviews with leading research scientists about black holes. The best thing about the video series is that the interviewer is a young university music student and daughter of the site’s founder Bernard Schutz. Dr. Schutz is a British-American physicist and researcher in gravitational waves. He is a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC). The content is brought down to the high-school level which should be approachable for all non-specialists.

Scientists interviewed for the film clips include Kip Thorne, the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech and one of the founding fathers of my chosen field of interest, gravitational waves and the LIGO project. The video interviews have been designed as an overview of the science behind black holes, how we observe them, black hole research going on today, how they've changed our way of thinking, and what Einstein thought of them.

I was excited to learn of this new resource in part because it relates to my field of research, but also because the target audience is young people and the goal is to provide education about astrophysics.

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