Greece’s first school of astrophysics, launched on Crete recently to operate virtually from March to May, is the passion project of Vassilis Charmandaris, a professor at the University of Crete and director of the Technology and Research Department’s Institute of Astrophysics.
“The school’s objective is not only to cover part of the vacuum created in the education of the younger generation by the abolition of astronomy classes at high school. Its key aim is to provide students with the motivation to discover the joy of learning about the world around us,” says Charmandaris.
The first online School of Astrophysics of Crete, which will operate with the support of the Crete Friends of Physics, will be reaching out to a select number of high school juniors and sophomores with an aptitude for learning more about the ABCs of astrophysics, but also the principles of physics that define how the universe works. The students will be selected in cooperation with teachers from the island’s high schools and the classes will be free of charge.
The program will consist of eight lectures, all conducted online, by members of the Astrophysics Institute, which will present the field in broad strokes and augment the knowledge of physics pupils acquire at school.
“We are hoping to establish the school as a proper institution that will be able to continue providing for the pupils of Crete for many years to come,” notes Charmandaris.
The deadline for applications (www.ia.forth.gr/el/astroschool) is March 1 and participants will receive a certificate at the end of the course. There will be a written exam on May 22 to wrap up the course, which students can sign up for voluntarily. The top five students with the best grades will be given an honorary diploma and books on astrophysics published by the University of Crete.
The top three will also be treated to two days working with the institute’s astrophysicists at the Skinakas Observatory on Mount Psiloritis over the summer.