Pulsars in the classroom

Pulsars in the classroom


Stephen Broderick has been teaching at St Ursula’s College Toowoomba for 28 years. In March 2011, he spent a week working with staff in Sydney at the National Telescope Facility in Sydney to start developing education modules that use CSIRO astronomical data. This was part of a teacher scholarship for CSIRO’s PULSE@Parkes education program.

The project is designed to engage students in scientific projects that will give them a positive attitude towards science and mathematics, and appreciation of how maths is applied in the real world.

PULSE@Parkes allows students to directly control Parkes radio telescope over the Internet and use it to do real science. It is the only program of its kind in the world.

Almost 1,000 students have been through the program, which has been run from as far afield as Wales and the Netherlands. An extension to the program will make it possible for anyone to analyse pulsar data on the web to calculate the ages and distances to pulsars, to view the Parkes telescope via webcam, and to see data collected in real time.

'PULSE@Parkes is laying the ground for similar outreach programs CSIRO will run with the new ASKAP (Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder) radio telescope CSIRO is building in Western Australia.Ultimately there will be education programs for the giant international Square Kilometre Array telescope, which will start construction this decade.

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