I am a physicist, retired after 40 years research with NASA on the magnetic environment of Earth in Space. The web collection "From Stargazers to Starships" was created as a window to give the general public a better view of the current state of astronomy, physics and space exploration, and of the way these work together. It is also intended to be a valuable resource for science education at the level of high school and beginning college. Some of the underlying ideas are voiced in Using Space to Teach Physics,
published 1999 in "The Physics Teacher". Of course, the site has grown considerably since then.
This web collection also has two "sister sites" dealing with magnetism of the Earth and of space surrounding it:
----"The Great Magnet, the Earth" and
----"Exploration of the Earth's Magnetosphere"
"Stargazers" has tried to impart an understanding of astronomy, physics and space science, informally yet accurately, stressing intuitive understanding and simple calculations. The other two collections are non-mathematical, but still cover their respective areas in a fair amount of detail. In all three, history forms the underlying framework (each also contains a timeline), and interest is added by stories of discovery and by applications to space and technology, also to society and culture.
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As of 2004, I am 72 years old and actively seek collaborators, to help ease the burden of maintaining the sites, of answering inquiries and updating the material, possibly freeing up more time to expand it. Ultimately the main responsibility should pass to someone younger--perhaps someone who may extend it to new areas.
If you think you might become such a collaborator, start by looking over the sites and getting a feeling for their material, style, level and philosophy. Also read the 1999 article cited above (the link is to its draft version), which discusses the underlying ideas.
Then ask yourself:
- (1) Do you think you could edit and create material with similar level, style, outlook and variety?
- (2) A web project on this scope requires continuous attention, with a major investment of time and effort. Do your have the motivation and time to do so?
If you answer is "yes" on both counts, look up next "Maintaining my Educational Web Sites," describing what I have been doing on this web project.
After that, if you'd like to discuss this further, please contact me at the address below.
David P. Stern