Log in to bookmark your favorites and sync them to your phone or calendar.

Space Awareness [clear filter]
Thursday, October 18

9:30am EDT

Bringing Astronomy Alive - Student Engagement at John Abbott College
Traditional approaches in Introductory Astronomy use a historical evolution of information with relatively static learning outcomes. Part of the reason for this pedagogy is the diverse (typically limited) Astronomy backgrounds of students at the post-secondary level, from no prior exposure (aside from Primary and Secondary curriculum) to budding Astronomers, Astrophysicists and Aerospace Engineers. The role of these courses is typically to share basic information and skills, but often lacks focus on the possibilities (scientifically and career-wise), so that students who have an affinity for space sciences have a starting point to leap onto a career path. Actual observing opportunities, and self-directed learning are valuable tools to engage students directly in areas of interest, and bring Astronomy and Space Sciences alive...moving beyond the classroom.

The approach in our course at John Abbott College puts the depth and direction of content in the hands of the students. Recognizing that, in the digital and social media age most students have some exposure to recent discoveries, and more importantly they have access to information and current data that better represents the direction of space science they will experience, this allows each student to put their stamp on the learning outcomes of the course. Combining this with regular (weather pending), non-compulsory observing opportunities with RASC (Royal Astronomical Society of Canada) - Montreal Centre allows students to embrace the field in a manner that suits their interests and motivation. This has resulted in incredibly diverse term projects, and several initiatives that have moved beyond the scope of the Introductory Astronomy Course, but are being supported through other avenues to foster student engagement. As well, other departments and courses are now taking advantage of the Astronomy activities to engage their students beyond the classroom.

This talk will give an overview of the course setup, a sampling of the student projects and the multi-disciplinary initiatives, and describe some of the student engagement that has moved beyond the scope of the course.

avatar for Karim Jaffer

Karim Jaffer

Student, John Abbott College
I have been at John Abbott College (JAC) since 2006 teaching a variety of Physics and Pathways courses, and began teaching the Introductory Astronomy course in 2016 - including the coordination of Astronomy observing activities, outreach, and all Astronomy-related projects in various... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 9:30am - 9:50am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

9:50am EDT

Arts and Science and Space
I will discuss how I used the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada library as a forum for College level students to explore ideas for self directed research culminating in a work of art. I will give a brief summary of how contemporary artists are incorporating current space research into their artistic investigations. I will then provide examples of student projects from the 2018 John Abbott College Arts and Science Studio Art course that gave SPACE as the thematic to be explored through a visual means. Students used sound, video, drawing, painting and sculpture to create projects that were inspired by material located in the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada library housed at John Abbott College in Montreal. The purpose of the project was to allow students to examine concepts of space in a very personal and creative manner. The presentation will provide examples of how very complex ideas around space can be experienced and relayed through visual means. I will provide a selection of 5 examples from the student projects using slide presentations in order to present a range of outcomes submitted for the course. Examples from my own studio practice will also be given to contextualize the project. This presentation will expose participants to how the arts and sciences are being bridged within the visual arts and how creativity, imagination, and exploration can be used to create independent works of art based on the vast and complex topic of space.

avatar for Sheila Nadimi

Sheila Nadimi

Professor, John Abbott College
I am a faculty member within the Visual Arts Department of John Abbott College. John Abbott College initiated an Arts and Science program in 2008 and I was responsible for developing the studio art component for this program. I am a visual artist with an interest in the intersection... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 9:50am - 10:10am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

10:10am EDT

STEM Education with the KickSat Sprite: Practicum in the Developing World
Sprites are picosatellites, already flown on several real missions (KickSat 1, Latvia's Venta, Italy's Max Valier) and manifested for KickSat 2, expected to launch in late 2018 or early 2018. Sprites can be programmed using Arduino. As satellites, in their design and operation, studying how they work can clarify the more counter-intuitive aspects of the space environment and some of the technology used to cope with, and make use of, that environment. By way of the Sprite's low cost, tiny scale, and open source design, there seems to be great promise for introducing students in the developing world to the rudiments of physics, electronics, communications theory and software engineering, in middle schools and high schools.

Recent educational psychology research suggests that certain mental capacities related to visual imagination are stoked by the exposure to physics. As well, research into project-oriented education suggests that lessons are learned better when students must organize themselves to make real things. Is the combination synergistic? And can that combination work in developing-world, with its lower education budgets, lower standards, and added stresses on the student?

Project Persephone's approach to using the Sprite in STEM education is based on lesson plans in which the students take part in planning the exercise of the Sprite in various simulated environments, using equipment and materials that students can construct, from components that are affordable in their regions. It is expected that the learning value of this extended, hands-on, project-based approach, with its strong emphasis on revealing physical principles, will not only greatly exceed the learning value of passively-consumed illustrations and demonstrations, but also signficantly exceed the learning value of simple hands-on exercises of the Sprite's (admittedly very limited) capabilities.

avatar for Michael Turner

Michael Turner

Executive Director, Project Persephone
I am leading a non-governmental, non-profit space program that has a strong emphasis on bringing the benefits of space development to equatorial mountain regions.

Thursday October 18, 2018 10:10am - 10:30am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

11:00am EDT

Converging Art and Astronomy: New Perspectives on Lunar Nomenclature and Exoplanet Research
Artist, gallerist, and art-science researcher Bettina Forget will talk about her project Women With Impact, a series of drawings of Moon craters which are named after women, and her work as artist-in-residence at the Mont-Mégantic Observatory.

The project Women With Impact is a response to the underrepresentation of women in the historical record in the field of science. Out of the 1,605 named craters on the lunar surface, 29 are named after women – that is a meager 1.8%. To highlight this issue, Bettina Forget decided to research the locations of the lunar craters named after women using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. After capturing the most detailed images of the craters possible, she created a series of 29 drawings on paper.
A crater is essentially a void, a hollow in the regolith. The void echoes the underrepresentation of women in positions of power, in the scientific canon, and in history. The void also speaks to its opposite: each crater is a result of an impact, a shattering of the calm surface. The 29 women who made such an impact are thrown into full relief with each drawing.
The series Women With Impact fuses the aesthetics of drawing with a socio-political perspective and selenographic research to create a project which bridges art and science.

For her artist residency at the Mont-Mégantic Observatory, Exoplanet Zoo proposed to create a taxonomy of exoplanets in sculptural form with the use of 3D printing technology. To create the collection of exoplanet prints, data sets associated with exoplanets were integrated into the source code of a 3D model of a plain sphere, generating a variety of exoplanet “species.” The exoplanet’s data sets include information regarding the planet’s size, mass, inclination, distance from the host star, rotation period, atmospheric composition, etc. The 3D printed sculptures blur the boundaries between organic and inorganic forms, referencing seeds, cells, and diatoms as well as geometric, crystalline structures. As such, the artworks create a link to astrobiology and ponder the possibility of life in the universe. The menagerie of sculptures makes the variances and characters of exoplanet tangible, and explore a variety of classification options.

avatar for Bettina Forget

Bettina Forget

President, Visual Voice Gallery
Bettina Forget is a gallery owner, art educator, visual artist, and art/science researcher living and working in Montreal, Canada. Bettina owns and runs Visual Voice Gallery, which presents contemporary art exhibitions that create a dialogue between art and science. Since 2016 Bettina... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 11:00am - 11:20am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

11:20am EDT

100 Times Around the Sun - RASC Montreal Centre in 2018
This year, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) is celebrating its Sesquicentennial Anniversary, growing from one centre in Toronto to 29 centres across Canada. The Montreal Centre was founded in 1918, and having experienced 100 orbits around our Sun the club has a rich and storied history in Montreal.
Over the past decade, the RASC - Montreal Centre has been revitalized through partnerships with McGill University and John Abbott College. The club now has a healthy membership over 160 and offers an Observatory at the Morgan Arboretum with a 14"" Casgrain Schmidt telescope, an Astronomy Library at John Abbott College with a collection spanning over a century, and hosts monthly public events (using either location as appropriate) throughout the year. Groups can also arrange for exclusive viewing nights - often organized for Scouts, Guides, Camps and the Starlight Foundation. The Centre maintains a Dark Sky site an hour south of Montreal, with a 16"" dobsonian telescope for member use, and other dark sky outings are organized throughout the observing season.
There's a beauty to the night sky that must be seen to be truly understood. As part of its mission, the RASC - Montreal Centre creates a welcoming environment for all who wish to learn about or pursue the hobby of observational Astronomy. In addition to an overview of the Centre's history, this talk will describe the current offerings of the club which can benefit students of the night sky...Bringing Space Down to Earth.

avatar for Karim Jaffer

Karim Jaffer

Student, John Abbott College
I have been at John Abbott College (JAC) since 2006 teaching a variety of Physics and Pathways courses, and began teaching the Introductory Astronomy course in 2016 - including the coordination of Astronomy observing activities, outreach, and all Astronomy-related projects in various... Read More →
avatar for Morrie Portnoff

Morrie Portnoff

President, RASC, Montreal Centre
I have been the President of the Montreal Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for the past 5 years. Prior that that I was the Treasurer for for 2 years as well as the Editor of the Centre's newsletter, Skyward. Observing the night sky is a passion which I love to share... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 11:20am - 11:40am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Space Awareness, Outreach

11:40am EDT

Space Incorporated: The Next Big Disruption. Are We Ready?
Our participation in the symposium intends to support its main topic and to complement other speakers contribution. We will take the audience in an endeavour to discover the new technologies of the commercial space industry, through our efforts in producing a documentary that will help us learn, explore, study and witness the industry's democratization and potential impact on humanity. The film presents a variety of points of view including voices for and critical of the commercial space industry, and shows the regulatory work that has been done and is currently being done (internationally) to make it a sustainable activity. It consist of a series of interviews with experts from the aerospace industry including lawyers, artists, environmentalists and astronauts, to listen their personal opinion and their expectations of technologies such as Space Transportation and Tourism (transportation of supplies, experiments, technology and satellites, human spaceflight, supersonic point-to-point travel and space hotels) Outer Space Mining (extraction of water and rare metals from asteroids, the Moon and Mars), and Permanent Human Settlements (on Mars, the Moon and Earth's orbits). Its objective is to create awareness and educate civil society, governments and the industry on the challenges, opportunities and risks of these technologies. We aim to reduce the unfamiliarity that surrounds the commercial space industry, and to promote a debate on a variety of areas such as legal, economic, environmental, social and scientific. We are at the dawn of disrupting technologies that could change the way we live in the same way aviation changed our world in one hundred years. This is a great opportunity to learn, explore, study and witness how Space Transportation and Tourism, Outer Space Mining and Permanent Human Settlements will democratize space, will make us an interplanetary species, will change our perception of ourselves and of Earth, and our relationship with our planet and other celestial bodies.


Daniel Alvarez

Co-producer, Space Incorporated
Felipe Almeida - Documental photographer and senior Ph.D. candidate at HEC Montreal in human behaviour and consumerism. Andras Töth - Cinema graduate at Concordia University, and environmental researcher from Eötvös Loránd University Daniel Alvarez - McGill University alumni in... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 11:40am - 12:00pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

2:15pm EDT

Reaching for the Stars: How To Empower the Next Generation With Space
Since organizing a Solar Eclipse Event in August 2017 with over 2000 members of the public in attendance, speaker Emilie Lafleche continues to actively seek ways to reach younger audiences with her passion for space. After an opportunity to host an astronomy-themed workshop for the Girl Guides of Canada, she and her peer, Sam Henle, founded Stars and Stuff, a workshop-centric, non-profit organization with the goal of making space education fun and accessible for all youth, as well as to open doors for enthusiastic young students within the space industry. During this talk, participants will learn tips on how to share their love for space with others, and experience what this up-and-coming, student-led organization has to offer the next generation of stargazers.

avatar for Emilie Lafleche

Emilie Lafleche

Summer research intern, student, McGill Space Institute, iREx, McGill University
Emilie is a second-year Honours Planetary Science student at McGill University. Over the course of her studies, she discovered her love of astrobiology and observational astronomy, and has become a youth advocate for space education in her community. She has partnered several times... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 2:15pm - 2:45pm EDT
Room G Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
Filter sessions
Apply filters to sessions.