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Reach for the Stars
By Ellis Myers

Should you be traveling in New England, it is not very far-and it would be worth your while-to drop in at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in Concord, New Hampshire. What's more-your Chabot Space and Science Center membership cards will admit you to one of the Digistar shows in their 40-foot domed theater under a glass pyramid. In the exhibit areas there are hands-on activities for various levels of interest. In the evenings the public is invited to stargaze with telescopes and binoculars along with members of the New Hampshire Astronomical Society. Other programs of the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium extend into the schools, and nearly 30,000 school children participate each year, engaged in the exploration of astronomy and space science.

In 1984, NASA wanted to rekindle the excitement that had once surrounded the space program, and to stimulate a new interest, President Reagan decided that the first American civilian, not trained as an astronaut, to travel aboard a space shuttle should be one of America's finest-a teacher, one whose training included the ability to excite and interest our youth. Recipient of the honor of being "Teacher in Space," Sharon Christa McAuliffe, a teacher at Concord High School, had been chosen from among 11,500 applicants. While aboard the shuttle, Christa was to have taught two lessons from space. She would have introduced each flight crew member and explained their roles, explained how they lived aboard the spacecraft, and shown the cockpit's 1300 switches and dials. Her second lesson was to discuss why people explore space, explain how the shuttle flew, and report on technological advances created by the space program. She would also keep a journal, inspired by the writings of the pioneer women who left their homes in search of a new frontier. Christa said "That's our new frontier out there and it's everybody's business to know about space."

On January 28, 1986, Christa's mission ended just 73 seconds after lift-off when the Challenger exploded. In her memory, the People of New Hampshire built the planetarium because it combined Christa's dream of traveling in space with her dedication to teaching. The institution opened on June 21, 1990 to begin its mission to educate and entertain learners of all ages in the sciences and humanities, encouraging them to Reach for the Stars.The Christa McAuliffe Planetarium is located at 3 Institute Drive, Concord, NH; there is a web site at www.starhop.com.


Points of Light

EAS member David Seaborg was the recipient of an article in the Contra Costa Times-including a 5-column picture in color-which heralded Seaborg's talk, July 25, at the Blackhawk Museum (details below). In keeping with the museum's current Nobel laureates exhibit, Seaborg's talk concerns the creative processes in some of the great thinkers of our time, including Albert Einstein, what led to his father's receiving the Nobel Prize, and what it was like being raised by one of the most revered chemists in the world. (The Nobel Lecture Series Presentations are in association with the Smithsonian Institution; the Nobel exhibition will continue through October 14.)

DANVILLE ­ David Seaborg, son of nuclear pioneer Glenn T. Seaborg, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Behring-Hofmann Educational Institute Inc., at 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle in Danville about growing up with a Nobel Prize-winning father. Glenn T. Seaborg, who died in February 1999, discovered nine heavy elements, including

 

"seaborgium." He served as the second chancellor at University of California, Berkeley, where he taught for nearly 60 years.The G.T. Seaborg Institute for Transactinium Science at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, established in 1991, honors the contributions he made to the study and discovery of elements heavier than plutonium.

David Seaborg is an evolutionary biologist and an award-winning wildlife photographer and poet. He was 2 when his father received the Nobel Prize. He developed a theory on how organisms affect their environments and he founded two environmental organizations. For information about the Wednesday talk, call (925) 736-2277, visit
http://www.BlackhawkMuseum.org or e-mail
museum@BlackhawkMuseum.org


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