Skip to main content

Community

WVU Planetarium and Observatory

The planetarium presents free public shows on alternating Friday evenings. The shows provide a glimpse into the night sky, highlighting the wonders of the universe, its origins and our place among the cosmos;  see the schedule . The observatory is located atop the physics department and is equipped with a 14-inch Celestron telescope for public viewing in concert with the planetarium shows.

Contact:  Kathryn Williamson

Pulsar Search Collaboratory

The  PSC  is an  NSF-ITEST  funded project jointly run by the  National Radio Astronomy Observatory  and physics faculty. Since it began in 2008, over 400 students have jointly searched for pulsars at the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT), so far discovering four new pulsars as well as several as-yet unidentified bursts of radio waves. The project has had a positive impact in encouraging female and minority students to follow careers in STEM disciplines. This is evidenced by the incoming 2011 Physics class of 15 students at WVU, including four PSC alumni (three of whom are female).

Contacts:  Maura McLaughlin Duncan Lorimer 

Mountaineer Area Robotics

The MARS program works with high school and middle school students primarily in north-central WV and is affiliated with the  international FIRST robotics program . The middle school program currently works with over 40 robotics teams, partnered with the Educator Resources Center at the NASA IV&V Facility and 4-H. Teams consist of of 3-10 students and at least 1 coach, training both teachers and students. The high school program began in 2008 and currently includes over 30 youth and 20 mentors from a variety of scientific, engineering, and non-technical backgrounds. The program has spawned a program in southern WV and additional teams throughout the state are under development. MARS is a public-private partnership with corporations, foundations, and academic institutions contributing to the support of the program.

Contact:  Earl Scime

Science Public Outreach Team (SPOT)

The West Virginia Science Public Outreach Team (SPOT) recruits and trains student ambassadors to bring presentations about current West Virginia space science, technology, and engineering to West Virginia K-12 classrooms, museums, and youth programs. WV educators can request Standards-based presentations and hands-on activities for their school or venue online. During the 2015-2016 academic year, SPOT reached over 4,800 students around the state. The program is currently supported through a collaboration among the Green Bank Observatory, the NASA WV Space Grant Consortium, NASA IV&V Facility, West Virginia University, Fairmont State University, WV Wesleyan College, Marshall University, WVU Institute of Technology, WV State, and Shepherd University, and is actively seeking new partners. 

Contact: Kathryn Williamson

Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) in Science and Mathematics 

The West Virginia Chapter of the Association for Women in Science sponsors an annual conference for middle school girls to participate in hands-on workshops that explore a variety of science and mathematics topics. The conferences are held on a Saturday in April in a different location in West Virginia each year. The conference is supported by a grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, Division of Science and Research.

Contact:  Amy Keesee

Partnership with Spark! Imagination and Science Center

The Department of Physics and Astronomy has a strong partnership with Spark! Imagination and Science Center, the only science center and children's museum in a 90 mile radius.  Faculty and students do outreach during special events including Science Day, Space Day, Robotics Day, and science night at schools in the immediate region and throughout the state.  Faculty in the department collaborated on building a unique hands-on permanent exhibit about Space Weather.
 
Contact:  Paul Cassak