In the era of global communication, people are left with the impression that every community can be easily reached when sharing science and knowledge in general, especially thanks to technologies and the Internet.
The real situation is far from the ideal. Economical, logistical and social issues can make hard or impossible for many communities to access the traditional and modern channels commonly used to convey science communication. Also, often disadvantaged communities cannot directly enjoy scientific experiments and/or practical experiences because they don’t have the resources needed.
The Virtual Telescope started its activities in 2006, making a number of robotic, easy to use telescopes available through the Internet: it’s possible to use real telescopes, moving and controlling them in real time via the Internet. While other online telescopes are available, the Virtual Telescope team includes astronomers, science communicators and other figures with specific skills to enrich both the contents and the formats used to reach the public. These choices make the Virtual Telescope a unique case on the international stage. The idea is to offer something new to the general audience, not only to astronomers.
We have also created our webTV, making public online events when something special happens in the sky: astronomical images are shared on the web in real time, with live commentary from our staff.
More recently, the Virtual Telescope has started an intense social project, including several activities, with the explicit goal to bring the wonders and suggestions of space and time (both from a scientific and philosophical point of view) to hospitals, prisons and growing Countries. The real-time use of the telescope is part of the experience, otherwise other experiences are proposed.
This recent project poses a special attention to the human factor, believing that knowledge is an enriching element, always improving the consciousness and quality of life. Astrophysics, philosophy, cosmology, art and literature are properly mixed together (of course considering the audience background), with a resulting format which is showing an amazing success.
In this talk we report about our experience, philosophy and critical points we’ve met, especially at the Rebibbia prison, the biggest penitentiary institute in Italy.
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PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

“The virtual telescope project
Bringing science and knowledge to disadvantaged communities”

Gianluca Masi   The Virtual Telescope Project

Gisella Luccone   The Virtual Telescope Project

In the era of global communication, people are left with the impression that every community can be easily reached when sharing science and knowledge in general, especially thanks to technologies and the Internet.
The real situation is far from the ideal. Economical, logistical and social issues can make hard or impossible for many communities to access the traditional and modern channels commonly used to convey science communication. Also, often disadvantaged communities cannot directly enjoy scientific experiments and/or practical experiences because they don’t have the resources needed.
The Virtual Telescope started its activities in 2006, making a number of robotic, easy to use telescopes available through the Internet: it’s possible to use real telescopes, moving and controlling them in real time via the Internet. While other online telescopes are available, the Virtual Telescope team includes astronomers, science communicators and other figures with specific skills to enrich both the contents and the formats used to reach the public. These choices make the Virtual Telescope a unique case on the international stage. The idea is to offer something new to the general audience, not only to astronomers.
We have also created our webTV, making public online events when something special happens in the sky: astronomical images are shared on the web in real time, with live commentary from our staff.
More recently, the Virtual Telescope has started an intense social project, including several activities, with the explicit goal to bring the wonders and suggestions of space and time (both from a scientific and philosophical point of view) to hospitals, prisons and growing Countries. The real-time use of the telescope is part of the experience, otherwise other experiences are proposed.
This recent project poses a special attention to the human factor, believing that knowledge is an enriching element, always improving the consciousness and quality of life. Astrophysics, philosophy, cosmology, art and literature are properly mixed together (of course considering the audience background), with a resulting format which is showing an amazing success.
In this talk we report about our experience, philosophy and critical points we’ve met, especially at the Rebibbia prison, the biggest penitentiary institute in Italy.

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