Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Combating Cosmophobia - Articles and Videos to Help People Understand Why the World Won't End in 2012

As December 2012 rolls towards us we will have more and more people worried about apocalyptic predictions of the end (or at least severe discomfort) of the world from imagined astronomical phenomena.

Well, via Andrew Fraknoi of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific there are some links that will be very useful in combating these fears.

The journal "Astronomy Education Review" has just published a guide to accessible written and audio-visual materials which cover most of the issues Doom merchants misrepresent or misunderstand.

As well, a  video recording of the  "Doomsday 2012 and  Cosmophobia" plenary session from the “Communicating Science Conference” held Tuesday August 7, 2012 by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific has now been posted by NASA's LunarScience Institute at:
From Andrews email: The panel, held Aug. 7, 2012 in Tucson, Arizona, includes astronomers, educators, and an expert on Mayan civilization. Panelists examine some of the key claims about end-of-the-world predictions and the more general idea of "cosmophobia" -- fear of celestial events and phenomena. And they answer questions from educators in the audience.

The website also includes an overview letter from Dr. David Morrison (of NASA and the SETI Institute) and links to useful resources.
Anyone interested in science communication should look over these resources, even if you don't have to deal with Nibiru or Mayan Calendars.