Making Space Physics More Widely Comprehensible
Volume 11, Number 2, June 1995
By David Stern and Mauricio Peredo
Space physics - studies of the Sun, the solar wind, and planetary magnetospheres and ionospheres, especially the Earth's - is an exciting field to scientists exploring it but very difficult to communicate to broader sections of the public.
"The Exploration of the Magnetosphere" being assembled by David Stern (GSFC, Code 695) and Mauricio Peredo (Hughes STX Corporation) seeks to do just that. It is a demonstration project aimed at the technically literate segment of society - technicians, engineers, science teachers, space enthusiasts, and students. It is entirely non-mathematical, but its language is precise, retaining the scientific flavor, the excitement of discovery, and the intricate interplay of phenomena. A determined 14-year-old might understand it, and even a citizen with no special interest in science may gain something by skimming. Among the features are the following:
The project was demonstrated at the 1995 Spring Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Baltimore, Maryland, (May 30-June 2) and will be demonstrated at the 1995 IUGG XXI General Assembly Meeting in Boulder, Colorado (July 2-15). The material is still incomplete, but users are welcome to browse through The Exploration of the Earth's Magnetosphere via the World Wide Web at URL
, and any comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
- A focus on physics and linkage to science education.
- A stress on history; that is, many subjects include a "history button" that gives the associated historical background and context.
- An underscoring of ties to human culture and society, and the international nature of space research.
- An attempt to whet curiosity by leaving open avenues for further investigation by the user.
- An attempt to impress the user with the diversity of research in space.
- The highlighting of yet-unsolved problems to reinforce the overtones of "exploration."
GSFC organizational page
Curators: Erin Gardner
and Miranda Beall
Responsible Official: Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633
Last Revised: 21 Nov 1996 [EDG]