1 thought on “Tactile Astronomy: Interview with Dr. Bonne”

  1. I didn t start thinking about this again until I had moved from full time research into public engagement and outreach. My boss at the time, Dr Karen Masters (an academic who is heavily involved with the Galaxy Zoo project, and is the Tactile Universe Faculty Advisor) suggested that I should talk to a friend in the US who ran an astronomy education program that focused on teaching vision impaired students. My first conversation with Kate Meredith (former Director of Education Outreach at Yerkes Observatory, now Director of Geneva Lake Astrophysics and STEAM (GLAS)) was inspiring, and got me thinking about what I could offer to the blind and vision impaired community because of my experiences. After more conversations with Karen, Kate and Jen Gupta (the ICG Outreach and Public Engagement Manager and the Tactile Universe s Public Engagement Advisor) and lots of time pondering this, I decided I wanted to make learning about galaxy shape and colour easier for blind and vision impaired people. My basic idea for this was to turn a galaxy image into a sort of relief map, making the height of the map scale with the change in brightness across the galaxy. This idea resulted in our first 3D tactile galaxy image, digitally produced by Coleman Krawczyk (the team s Technical Lead) which Coleman will tell you all about in his blog post, our successful application for funding to run a six month pilot through SEPNet, and our baptism by fire where we tested our models for the first time and changed a primary school student s life, an experience which Jen will relate in her blog post.

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