Monday, May 5, 2014

May the Fourth Be With You, and AstroDay

Not exactly related to the pun in the title, but on Saturday I helped out at the Joint Astronomy Centre table for AstroDay down at the mall. I think I've mentioned AstroDay before, but for a refresher, it's an event each year where all the various observatories and other astronomy groups around the island (such as the UH Astronomy department) set up tables down at the mall as part of an astronomy outreach push. It's quite a big event with tables spread throughout the mall, all of which have their own little diversions and demonstrations. At our table we had build-your-own paper-models of the JCMT to giveaway (which were quite a hit), along with various other things such as a robotic arm which we had kids grab themselves a piece of candy from a bowl with (also a big hit).

It's always great seeing kids getting excited about astronomy and science in general, and I was completely floored by one thing in particular: one of the kids who came to our table recognized me from when I came and spoke to his class as part of Journey Through the Universe. That was over a month ago, and I'm amazed and humbled that he remembered me. There isn't really any follow-up in Journey Through the Universe so it can be hard to judge the impact you have, and easy to discount it because you don't see what impact there is, but an incident like this gives me hope that perhaps, just perhaps, I had more of an impact than I thought. Maybe I've helped inspire someone to go into astronomy. I'll likely never know, but it's a thought simultaneously uplifting and humbling.

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