Summer holidays in Chile are quite long, at least for the schools and universities. They start around Christmas and last for January and February. March is then a crazy month, the streets of Santiago become full with people and cars, music and all sorts of sounds. All activities that were pending in summer happen in March, in addition to the start of classes and other events that always happen in March, such as the international women’s day, or the astronomy day. This year this effect has been even more noticeable because the situation of the Pandemic is allowing us to return to in-person activities.
In this context, ERIS also wanted to start awakening from the summer holidays and embrace the new academic year. The astronomy day was a perfect excuse, so was the public outreach book Fosiles del cosmos released in January. It was written by one of us (P. Jofre), but with much contribution by the rest of us. We took the opportunity of the Diego Portales University being full with students and staff, and made an official book launch, taking the opportunity to introduce ERIS and the team.
We had a discussion about the book, which essentially is about Gaia, the Milky Way, phylogenetic trees, women in science, theory and observations. All these subjects are very central in ERIS, explaining why Fósiles del cosmos in a somehow represents us. Many people in the audience were also very interested in knowing how our careers in astronomy started.
“It was really cool to know that P. Tissera’s love for astronomy started with Star Trek and Mr. Spock. Role models don’t need to be exactly of your gender, therefore the more role models, the better for everyone!” – Claudia Aguilera, postdoc at UDP and ERIS Partner.
Working with Sense Contents, who are based in the southern city of Concepción, also motivated us to take the team outside the Metropolitan area for another day, and make first contact with two of the schools that will work with us in the education project entitled “Gen universal”. We introduced each other, spoke to 11-year old kids and their teachers about science, migration, frustration and so many other interesting subjects that astronomy deals with on a regular basis, and of course, brought some book copies as presents!
“I was impressed to see the motivation of the children to learn about astronomy. When I was at school, I didn’t know anybody that was interested in astronomy, it is nice to see this might not be like that everywhere. I was also surprised to realize that the ERIS team is very consolidated and motivated to work on this project ” – Anell Cornejo, ERIS master student working at PUC.
It is exciting to start this new project, we look forward to developing a very exciting idea and working with a very motivated team beyond the scientific community.