French university joins IAU Office of Astronomy for Education as new OAE Node

Published: 10th May 2022 15:00 (UTC)

The International Astronomical Union is pleased to announce the founding of a new “branch office” of the Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE): the OAE Node France at CY Cergy Paris University. The OAE itself was founded in December 2019, marking the IAU’s commitment to primary and secondary education, in particular in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Astronomical topics are particularly effective in fostering students’ interest in STEM subjects.

The OAE head office was established by the IAU at the Haus der Astronomie and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. Since then, the OAE has been building collaborations with partner organisations that share its mission – to promote and support the development and improvement of astronomy education, as well as the use of astronomy in science education more generally, all over the world. OAE Centers, as well as the smaller OAE Nodes, are branch offices funded by host organisations with an interest in supporting that mission. The new branch joins seven existing ones: the OAE Center China-Nanjing, OAE Center Cyprus, OAE Center Egypt, OAE Center India, OAE Center Italy, OAE Node Republic of Korea and OAE Node Nepal.

The new Node will be led by manager Emmanuel Rollinde and deputy manager Giles Remy. The role of the Node will include assisting with translation of material to and from French. The new Node will also focus on best practices for didactics in astronomy education and teacher training. Last but not least the new Node will look to build relationships with the astronomy education communities in other Francophone countries.

IAU General Secretary José M. Rodriguez Espinosa said: “I am delighted that the OAE is expanding its network even further with the addition of the OAE Node France at CY Cergy Paris University. The OAE now has a total of eight institutes collaborating as Centers and Nodes, showing the enthusiasm the global astronomy community has for its work.“

The OAE’s Director, Markus Pössel, added: “Given its worldwide scope, our mission to promote the use of astronomy for teaching and school-level education is only achievable with broad support. We are grateful to be joined in our endeavours by the new OAE Node France at CY Cergy Paris University — the expertise that Emmanuel Rollinde and his colleagues bring to the table is valuable indeed, and given the international role of the French language, we are glad that the new OAE Node has chosen as one of its focus areas the support of French-speaking communities in general.”

Emmanuel Rollinde of CY Cergy Paris University, manager of the new node, said: “We are glad to join the international effort led by OAE’s team. The OAE Node France at CY Cergy Paris University has been created to help the networking of astronomers, educators and mediators in bringing astronomy to education. The core team of our office involves astronomers, mathematics and science education researchers and educators of CY Cergy Paris University. Our first task is to bring all francophone astronomy educators together through our website and its ‘directory of members of the astronomy education community’. We are looking forward to this fruitful collaboration with OAE and IAU in general.”

More information

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 12 000 active professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.

The OAE is supported by a growing network of OAE Centers and OAE Nodes, collaborating to lead global projects developed within the network. The OAE Centers and Nodes are: the OAE Center China–Nanjing, hosted by the Beijing Planetarium (BJP); the OAE Center Cyprus, hosted by Cyprus Space Exploration Organization (CSEO); the OAE Center Egypt, hosted by the National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics (NRIAG); the OAE Center India, hosted by the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA); the OAE Center Italy, hosted by the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF); the OAE Node Republic of Korea, hosted by the Korean Astronomical Society (KAS); the OAE Node Nepal, hosted by Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO).

The IAU Office of Astronomy for Education is hosted at Haus der Astronomie (HdA), managed by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. The OAE’s mission is to support and coordinate astronomy education by astronomy researchers and educators, aimed at primary or secondary schools worldwide. HdA’s hosting the OAE was made possible through the support of two German foundations: the Klaus Tschira Foundation and the Carl Zeiss Foundation.

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Niall Deacon
OAE Main Office

Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Director of Communications