During his record-breaking stay on board the International Space Station, Dutch ESA astronaut André Kuipers took several photos of Earth that are being used for education in the GIS studio of the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The most beautiful photos are part of a travelling exhibition that is now on display at the UvA until February 2013.
The exhibit shows the Netherlands by night and highlights the vast amount of light sources that pollute the night skies of the Netherlands. The same images are also being used by the IBED GIS studio in the educational module ‘Data Preparation’ that is available to students of several Bachelor and Master programmes at the Faculty of Science of the UvA. The module developed by the GIS studio is a unique educational spin-off from a mission that was already packed with education from space. During his PromISSe mission, Kuipers took the leading role in the ‘Space Ship Earth’ programme that focussed on young children in primary and secondary education. One of the experiments of the educational programme aimed at demonstrating the effects of gravity in convective processes in the oceans, atmosphere and mantle of the Earth. This ‘Convection’ experiment was proposed by IBED scientist Sebastiaan de Vet, who was the Principle Investigator of the experiment during the mission.
The exceptional efforts of André Kuipers in education and making science accessible to a wide audience, especially children and young people, have not gone unnoticed. The University of Amsterdam has therefore decided to award him an honorary doctorate during the Dies Natalis celebrations of 8 January 2013.
The ten most beautiful photos of The Netherlands by night taken by André Kuipers were kindly loaned by the ’Platform Lichthinder’. They are displayed at Science Park Amsterdam in the hallway of the Faculty of Science (building 904). The photos will be on display from 3 December 2012 until Christmas and are freely accessibly to all those who are interested. In January the photos will be displayed on the 4th floor next to the GIS studio.
The exhibition will be officially opened on Wednesday 5 December 2012 at 9:30 o'clock by the first students from the Amsterdam University College who used the new GIS module featuring the photos on display.