Business and Website Updated!
As our inaugural outreach year of 2012 wound down, we improved our nonprofit business model and our website, to better serve the public and transmit our mission. We now have a new name - Rediscover Science! - though we still retain Iowa Space Science Center, as our legacy name.
I. "Rediscover Science" Better Reflects Our Core Mission
Rediscover Science better transmits our core mission - to improve science understanding and science appreciation. We still believe that Space Science is an excellent "hook" to give patrons a great glimpse into science. But we can now emphasize that other science fields provide powerful stories that can be highly attractive to the public.
Rediscover Science also suggests action, not a place, in keeping with our current go-to-the-site approach to meeting school children and other interested groups. We also feature live, interactive exchanges with children and adults, an irreplaceable means of engaging and evaluating success. Further, it reflects what we so passionately want to do: transmit to others the vitality of science and its central position in a forward society that values logic, perseverance, and intellectual growth.
Thus, our small group invite you to join in Rediscovery, to pick up from the point when our society gave greater emphasis and respect to science and its methods. Thus, whether an outreach covers space science or biology, we are devoted to not only attract and engage children, but to deliver the methods and discoveries of science.
II. Please peruse our new Website
We have added two new sections. "OUTREACH" provides an overview of activities we performed during our first outreach year and provides for the download of a PDF document describing our current outreach efforts.
We have also added our first stab at a "Store", done in response to visitors asking for more information about the Star Map we offer for sale. More complete descriptions of a small set of items for sale are now described.
Why We Care About Science
I. The Need to Rediscover Science
There will not be another Sputnik or Apollo Era, at least within our lifetimes. Interest in science is waning and our capacity to do new science is diminished. The retirement of a large cohort of Baby-Boom scientists also presents a threat to our ability to sustain our current productivity. In short, there are multiple challenges facing us. New approaches to excite the public are needed, as traditional ones have not forestalled the difficult trend, present for decades.
Fortunately, the means of moving forward are before us
And those means are well within our capacities. It will take the passion and dedication of the Apollo Era, but without any program approaching Apollo’s heft.
Instead, a renaissance will likely only happen through the efforts of those who care about science, because it is has been such a vital part of being human and represents a pinnacle achievement of civilization.
A Special Opportunity for Our Area
Our region has the chance of becoming a regional leader, as it has longstanding strengths in academics, teaching, and research. The need for a science revival is clear; now we need to step up and meet the challenge. Given our community potential and the ever-increasing needs for new efforts to improve science understanding, there is an opportunity here that is ours to lose.
A National Passion Born by the Space Age
They built short-wave Heathkit radios and played with a best-selling toy of the time, Erector Set. They sometimes stunk up the house with Gilbert chemistry set concoctions. And they read about the planets, simple machines, and space exploration.
The kids of the Space Race era tinkered, dreamed, and watched the latest TV coverage of Mercury and Gemini launches. Then came the Landing on that July night of 1969.
Our nation was bathed in science and the promise of a great future. It birthed our nation's Greatest Generation of scientists and engineers, creating a country that led in science and technology.
But that era is over. We cannot rely on the inertia of our past.
Distractions challenge today's youth and our nation's ability to focus as it once had. Science education has ebbed, as has our understanding of how science works. The conditions that made us a leader no longer exist.
So what can we do?
II. Optimizing Our Effectiveness
We are undertaking significant changes in emphasis based upon collaborative appraisals with past collaborators, including members of the University of Iowa, the Iowa Academy of Science, the Iowa Space Grant Consortium. and interested teachers and community members.
Recent meetings with these constituents have led us to focus on what can be done now, as opposed to the long-term goals of establishing a major new facility. We have identified activities that are possible in the short term, with relatively small cash outlays, and yet will add value to schools, teachers, parents, and other interested parties. The need to improve our society's appreciation of science is pressing; we will create ways of doing that now. Our traveling planetarium, which has been involved in six community outreach efforts this year, is an example of how we can add value now, in the absence of a large and expensive drive for a major facility.
This focus is based upon our unique capabilities (see About Us section), current community needs, and identifying ways to merge that supply and demand.
Please bear with us as revisions to our website take place over time. Questions about this effort can be sent to the director, Charles Miller (see Contact page).
III. Offering a Solution to Today's Challenges
The Iowa Space Science Center (ISSC) believes it is the responsibility of next-generation science centers and outreach programs to fill the void and help re-ignite the sense of awe and discovery that imbued a whole generation of Americans. As is told elsewhere on this site, there is plenty of evidence that the need is acute.
The mission of the ISSC is to rekindle interest and fascination by telling the compelling stories of science discovery across the thousands of years over which science itself developed.
The ISSC proposes a comprehensive educational facility for Iowans and an exemplary national model to address urgent societal needs to:
Improve public science literacy and appreciation.
Assist K-12 science education programs.
Provide professional development for science teachers.
Help motivate youth toward science careers.
Explore our site!
The ISSC initiative is in its start-up phase. Please explore our website to get a feel for our vision for rediscovering science and a roadmap for getting it done. The menus at the left margin provide additional information for each page, while the main menu tabs cover key topics. Background information about the Iowa's unique role in space science and the challenges to science literacy are also provided.
We invite you to become part of this vital and exciting effort!