Is Astronomy Dead? w/ Alize Shilling

Purpose:From astronomy education to general public awareness and interest in the universe, Dustin and Tony talk with Alize about public perspectives on space.

Alize Shilling:Marketing Manager of OPT with minimal background in astronomy.

This Episode You’ll Learn

  • The shortcomings of modern education
  • A general perspective of astronomy today
  • Fun facts on astronomy
  • What measures need to be taken to engage the public

Notable Quotes:

“We have intrinsic interest and curiosity in space and the universe, but something happens along the way.”

“Just because you don’t know these facts, doesn’t mean you’re not a smart person.”

“There’s a difference between being skeptical and being in denial.”

Main Topics:

4:38 -Getting exposed to science

The general experience across the country shows a lack of interest in astronomy and space science due to several factors including educational funding, ignorant disinterest, and more. The educational experiences of Alize, Dustin, and Tony are laid out in an effort to find what opportunities are commonly available to students. The consensus shows there aren’t many.

10:44 -Reclaiming the Interest in Astronomy

How do we get back the curiosity in the cosmos? The standardized system of education shapes us into a box of memorization, doing away with creativity and the critical thinking necessary for venturing into space.

17:53 -Quizzing the Rookie on Space

The true purpose of this podcast begins here. Dustin and Tony bring up questions to test the knowledge of somebody with almost no background in astronomy. They hope to hone in on the successes and failings of the educational system, researching this subject with a 1-person sample size. What does the average person know about the universe? What causes the seasons? Which planet is the hottest? Find out if you can answer these questions.

**Trivia Section!**

18:18 -How many planets in our solar system?

19:00 -What causes the seasons?

22:45 -What is the hottest planet in the solar system?

25:15 -What’s the difference between a galaxy and a nebula?

28:17 -How long does it take the Earth to complete one orbit?

29:21 -Our Problems Come from Denial

Whether you know the answers to various astronomy-related questions or not, ultimately doesn’t matter. Where the real issues come from are those who deny the facts and aggressively spread their opinion on the matter; additionally, problems arise when science communicators and enthusiasts neglect to respect those who ask questions out of ignorance. The worst thing we can do belittle and ridicule those who believe something else, whether they are trying to learn differently or not.

39:20 -Astronomer vs. Astrophysicist

There is no difference, contrary to what the pompous folk want you to think. The training is exactly the same, and the only difference is the term people call themselves or want to be called. Dustin and Tony dive in the mindset of these titles and the communities that form from them. Speaking in general terms, if you were to call someone an astronomer but they insist on being termed an “astrophysicist,” chances are they’ve got some arrogance issues.

46:40 -Bursting Out of the Bubble

Ultimately our goal is to bring in the people who aren’t currently interested in astronomy, but the question is how do we get them engaged? Our hosts ponder what efforts have been done thus far and what else can be done. Alize gives her opinion on what it might take for newcomers to involve themselves in all of this. One big step is to set up telescopes in Times Square without being shut down, which is scheduled to happen again very soon. April 6th, 2019, to be exact.

Like what you listened to? Hate what you’ve heard? Let us know in the comments below!

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