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Schools and public o utreach
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  1. Schools and public outreach Schools engagement Introduction Outreach to schools and the general public is very strong in the field of Gravitational Wave (GW) research, driven by the exciting prospect of opening a new, gravitational window on the Universe. Our groups have a strong track record of schools and public engagement. This poster presents some highlights from recent outreach activities undertaken by the IGR in Glasgow. We have maintained our extensive programmes of schools lectures, including an “Island Universe” tour of the Hebrides for National Science and Engineering Week 2012 – delivering 27 lectures across 9 islands in 9 days– supported by STFC and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Exhibitions and events We are directly represented on the Education and Public Outreach (EPO) Group of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, through which we have played a key role in the success of “Astronomy’s New Messengers” – an exhibit on GW Astronomy with LIGO funded by the NSF. In addition we have a key advisory role in developing the new Physics syllabus for Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence, which is introducing substantial astrophysics, cosmology and relativity content to the Higher and Advanced Higher. In this role we have produced multimedia resources and support materials for students and teachers. This exhibit has been displayed at major festivals across the US, including the 1st and 2nd USA Science and Engineering Expos in Washington and the World Science Festival in New York. We have also displayed our own, UK-based, exhibit at many locations and events across the country, including Glasgow Science Centre, the Scottish Parliament, the Gravity Fields Festival, events at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and BBC Stargazing Live. Internet and social media We are taking a strong leadership role in the LSC’s online public engagement, e.g. through production of science summaries to accompany new LSC publications, suitable for a general audience. We are also co-leading the efforts to disseminate these summaries, and other LIGO news, via twitter, facebook and blogs. In 2012 we developed “Powers of Sixty”: a new exhibition on multi-messenger astronomy and the scale of the cosmos, marking the transit of Venus and the Diamond Jubilee. www.tinyurl.com/powersof60/ In 2012 the IGR also hosted the first European performance of “Einstein’s Cosmic Messengers”, a multimedia concert celebrating LIGO and gravitational wave astronomy composed by renowned US-Italian percussionist Andrea Centazzo. This ‘social media’ strategy will be a key element of the LSC’s public engagement plan as we approach the detection era.