néstorespinoza

Astrophysicist


Even before the start of my academic career, I have had a keen interest in science education, from (primary, secondary and high) school to unversity-level, including public outreach. This has been the main driver in a wide range of projects and activities related to teaching, mentoring and outreach that I had led during the past years, which I describe below.

Itinerant Physics/Bling Bling Universe

"Itinreant Physics" is the first project I started leading and which started my serious interest on science education. This project, which is led by physics and astronomy undergraduates at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile (PUC), focuses on sharing science with chilean schools through several sub-projects, which include training programs for teachers and students in physics and astronomy and material aid for vulnerable primary, secondary and high schools in order to help them develop their own laboratories for their science curriculum. I was the director of the project from 2009 to 2013, time period during which several projects were developed. Among them, I founded the Bling Bling Universe (BBU) initiative, a platform which is active to date and which I coordinated until the end of 2015, and whose aim is to provide tools for high school teachers and students in spanish in order for them to be able to explore the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) data.

Interested? Check out the project website in [this link]

Order-of-magnitude estimations for high-school students

Since 2014 to date, I have also been a teacher at the Center of Study and Development of Talent at PUC (PENTA UC, for its acronym in spanish), which is a center aimed at the academic development of talented high school students, and which offers them university-class courses dictated at PUC by professors and researchers. In this context, I've been dictating to date a course on order-of-magnitude estimations, based on the popular lecture notes by Sanjoy Mahajan (which can be found [here]) on the subject to high-school students of all levels. The course has turned out to be very popular in the program, and according to pre and post tests done to students, it has a significant impact on the ability of each student to both perform order-of-magnitude calculations and to develop opinions on topics which they have not thought before based on their ability to transfer knowledge into numbers.

Dimension Futuro

"Dimension Futuro" is a section in the radio show ``Palabras sacan palabras", which goes weekly on the national radio station Futuro FM. The main aim of this section is to give down-to-Earth explainations of cutting-edge science in an informal and entertaining way. Here are some recent recordings (in spanish) of the section:

>> "Earth dust in the moon" (01-31-2017) | Reference Scientific Article

>> "An holographic universe?" (02-06-2017) | Reference Scientific Article

>> "Is Pluto going to be a planet...Again?" (03-23-2017)

>> "On Cassini and its Grand Finale" (04-05-2017)

>> "Life in the Solar System" (05-03-2017) | Reference Scientific Article

>> "Seismology on Jupiter's Europa" (05-10-2017) | Reference Scientific Article

>> "Juno's first results on Jupiter" (05-31-2017) | Reference Scientific Article

>> "An expanding universe, pt. I" (06-14-2017) | Reference Scientific Article

>> "Giants around giants and singing stars" (07-05-2017) | Reference Scientific Article


Astronomy articles for the general public

In 2015, I was hired by the Telescopios Chile company in order to write monthly astronomy and/or physics columns on some topic related to astronomy and physics in spanish. Below is a list of selected columns; a full list of the publications can be found in this [link]:

>> "The Parker Solar Probe"

>> "Tabby's Star: the weirdest star on the sky"

>> "How habitable are 'potentially habitable' planets?"

>> "The heavens: windows to the past"

>> "Dark energy & matter"

>> "Supporting White Dwarfs and Neutron Stars: who's guilty?"

>> "Light: an electric and magnetic wave?"


Other media appearances

Some other media appearances are listed below (in spanish):

>> Radio Interview at U. de Chile radio about the "Asteroid Day"

>> TV Interview on Chilean TV station "Canal 13C"

>> Interview at "El Sabado" Magazine

>> Interview at "Rock and Pop" national radio station

>> Interview at "Rock and Pop" national radio station about the "Supermoon"

>> Interview at "Concierto" national radio station about TRAPPIST-1