Background: "Urania" is a weekly bulletin that deals with astrophysical and space technology news. It is an outreach project by INAF (www.inaf.it), the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics. It addresses web surfers, radio listeners and i‐pod users. Since 2000, this project has undergone several “fine tuning” changes in order to fit both the public’s requests and the continuously changing world wide web’s scenarios. The current Urania’s format enables people to get accurate, updated and easy‐to‐understand scientific information. Weekly news can be listened through radios or i‐pods, watched through web videos or local tv channels and simply read on the screen.

Objective/Hypotheses: Our present goal is to reach wider and wider portions of public not only to broadcast latest news, but to make people aware that astrophysics and related technologies keep on producing great results almost everyday. Even more, Urania is a way to cast light also on unusual sides of astrophysical research, both the human and the practical one. Trying to figure out a step forward in the future, we think that Urania is a good tool that can be used as a format for information also in other sciences. For example: a weekly bulletin could be useful and appreciated also in other fields such as medicine, biology etc. That’s why we suggest it as a good and well‐tested case study to everybody interested.

Methods: Every news is selected for scientific relevance, with special emphasis on the effects of aerospace research on everyday life (telecommunications, environmental monitoring, diagnostic instruments for medicine, etc.), on the involvement of Italy in the astronomical and space research and on the economical and technological aspects. Every issue is a step‐by‐step process: we start collecting the most relevant news from the official space agencies (NASA, European Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Agency, etc.), press agencies and scientific magazines (Nature, Science, The New Scientist, etc.). We write the articles, interview scientists and young researchers, and produce the audio and video versions using professional software (Goldwave, Macromedia Studio 8, Macromedia Dreamweaver) and hardware. In Urania the language is direct and modern, and the style is quick to fit in the new communication media, in particular both radio and web are well suited for bringing young people closer to science, stimulating interest, discussions and investigations at home or at school.

Results: According to statistics, Urania’s website (www.cieloblu.it ) is constantly visited and it is considered a real “web landmark” to refer to when a special event occurs (solar or lunar eclipse, visible comet etc.). Currently there are more than 80 radio stations broadcasting the audio version all over Italy (http://www.oapd.inaf.it/othersites/realmedia/lista_radio.htm), with at least 200000 radio listeners every week. The audio version is listened by blind people and it is broadcast in other countries (UK, USA, Mexico) by web radios and podcast despite the fact it is realized in Italian language. Using services for video sharing like Youtube.com, we literally "broadcast ourselves" and, as a consequence, we enlarged our public. Lately, local tv channels interested in cultural products, asked us to realize Urania in DVD format, in order to broadcast it.

Conclusions: Urania is a dynamic product: it undergoes a continuous developing process. It is actually dedicated to Italian public because of the language we use, but we think that with a little effort it could grow also in this sense, becoming a science bulletin for everybody. A bulletin dealing with science in general, not only with astronomy.

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 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Urania
Science is on the air, on the web and on your ipod!

Elena Lazzaretto   INAF ‐ Italian National Institute for Astrophysics

Luca Nobili   INAF ‐ Italian National Institute for Astrophysics

Caterina Boccato   INAF ‐ Italian National Institute for Astrophysics

Leopoldo Benacchio   INAF ‐ Italian National Institute for Astrophysics

Background: "Urania" is a weekly bulletin that deals with astrophysical and space technology news. It is an outreach project by INAF (www.inaf.it), the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics. It addresses web surfers, radio listeners and i‐pod users. Since 2000, this project has undergone several “fine tuning” changes in order to fit both the public’s requests and the continuously changing world wide web’s scenarios. The current Urania’s format enables people to get accurate, updated and easy‐to‐understand scientific information. Weekly news can be listened through radios or i‐pods, watched through web videos or local tv channels and simply read on the screen.

Objective/Hypotheses: Our present goal is to reach wider and wider portions of public not only to broadcast latest news, but to make people aware that astrophysics and related technologies keep on producing great results almost everyday. Even more, Urania is a way to cast light also on unusual sides of astrophysical research, both the human and the practical one. Trying to figure out a step forward in the future, we think that Urania is a good tool that can be used as a format for information also in other sciences. For example: a weekly bulletin could be useful and appreciated also in other fields such as medicine, biology etc. That’s why we suggest it as a good and well‐tested case study to everybody interested.

Methods: Every news is selected for scientific relevance, with special emphasis on the effects of aerospace research on everyday life (telecommunications, environmental monitoring, diagnostic instruments for medicine, etc.), on the involvement of Italy in the astronomical and space research and on the economical and technological aspects. Every issue is a step‐by‐step process: we start collecting the most relevant news from the official space agencies (NASA, European Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Agency, etc.), press agencies and scientific magazines (Nature, Science, The New Scientist, etc.). We write the articles, interview scientists and young researchers, and produce the audio and video versions using professional software (Goldwave, Macromedia Studio 8, Macromedia Dreamweaver) and hardware. In Urania the language is direct and modern, and the style is quick to fit in the new communication media, in particular both radio and web are well suited for bringing young people closer to science, stimulating interest, discussions and investigations at home or at school.

Results: According to statistics, Urania’s website (www.cieloblu.it ) is constantly visited and it is considered a real “web landmark” to refer to when a special event occurs (solar or lunar eclipse, visible comet etc.). Currently there are more than 80 radio stations broadcasting the audio version all over Italy (http://www.oapd.inaf.it/othersites/realmedia/lista_radio.htm), with at least 200000 radio listeners every week. The audio version is listened by blind people and it is broadcast in other countries (UK, USA, Mexico) by web radios and podcast despite the fact it is realized in Italian language. Using services for video sharing like Youtube.com, we literally "broadcast ourselves" and, as a consequence, we enlarged our public. Lately, local tv channels interested in cultural products, asked us to realize Urania in DVD format, in order to broadcast it.

Conclusions: Urania is a dynamic product: it undergoes a continuous developing process. It is actually dedicated to Italian public because of the language we use, but we think that with a little effort it could grow also in this sense, becoming a science bulletin for everybody. A bulletin dealing with science in general, not only with astronomy.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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