This Saturday, 24 March 2018, the eight Communicating Astronomy with the Public Conference (CAP) 2018 starts at the Fukuoka City Science Museum, in Japan. This is the largest CAP Conference ever, with around 450 participants from 53 countries across all continents, except Antarctica, attending.
The conference will last five days, from Saturday, 24 March until Wednesday, 28 March, and it is organised under the main theme of “Communicating Astronomy in Today’s World: Purpose & Methods”. The Purpose part of the theme aims to reflect on the many challenges communicators face in the post-truth era and on the role of astronomy communication in this context. The Methods component will look at recommendations from communicators all around the globe, as they come together to share their lessons learnt, insights and foresights.
The conference consists of five plenary sessions with four invited speakers, 22 parallel sessions, including a planetarium session, 24 workshop sessions, four unconference slots and a special session dedicated to the 100 Years Anniversary of the IAU.
Four days of the conference are dedicated to a sub-theme and have one or more invited speakers:
Day 1 – Outreach and Informal Education. Invited speaker: Norio Kaifu, Professor Emeritus of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan NAOJ, Advisor to the IAU, writer and lecturer, Japan.
Day 2 – Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Empathy in Communicating Astronomy. Invited speakers:
Wanda Diaz Merced, Postdoctoral Researcher at the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development, Cape Town, South Africa;
Hitoshi Murayama, PhD theoretical physicist, Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe at the University of Tokyo, Japan.
Day 3 – Using Multimedia, Social Media, Immersive Environments, and other Technologies for Public Engagement with Astronomy. Invited speaker: Dominique Brossard, Professor and Chair in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Day 5 – Current Challenges in Astronomy Communication. Invited speaker: Jennifer Ouellette, science writer and author, former science editor of Gizmodo, USA.
Day 4 is fully dedicated to workshops, an important component of the conference, whose aim is to develop participants’ skills by learning from one another.
The Local Organising Committee of the conference has prepared a diverse social programme, meant to immerse participants in the culture of the host country Japan.
Japan was selected as host of this edition of CAP with the goal to reach the Asia-Pacific region and promote an exchange between professionals residing here and elsewhere in the world, strengthening collaboration and increasing diversity within the community.
Insights from the conference will be published on the conference Twitter channel @CAPConference using the hashtag #CAP2018. Those interested in the conference are invited to also follow the conference Facebook page, join the CAP mailing list, where they can find out about future editions and follow the dedicated C2 website section.
The CAP Conference series is organised by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), through Commission 2 — Communicating Astronomy with the Public. The local organisation of the 2018 edition was led by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and Fukuoka City, supported by a very strong national and local team of astronomy communicators, city officials and other partners. The Scientific Programme of the conference was led by the C2 CAP Conference Working Group.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Paris, France. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. Its individual members - structured into Divisions, Commissions, and Working Groups - are professional astronomers from all over the world who are active in professional research and education in astronomy. The IAU has more than 10,000 members in 98 countries worldwide. The IAU is responsible for naming stars, planets, asteroids and other celestial bodies and collaborates with other scientific organisations all over the world.
The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) is a leading astronomy research organization, and Fukuoka City, an area with historical connections to science and astronomy, teamed up to bring the international astronomy outreach and education community to Japan to directly experience the latest Japanese and Asian advances in astronomy communication.
Fukuoka City Science Museum has opened in 2017 to bring science to all citizens of, and visitors to, the city. It aims to make science accessible to the public and to provide an environment where children can express their creativity and receive support to follow their dreams for the future.
Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer / ESO ePOD
Tel: +49 89 3200 6761
Cell: +49 173 3872 621