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The International Year of Light in the History of Príncipe Island

The year 2015 was declared as the International Year of Light,marking among others, the centenary of Albert Einstein’s declaration of the General Theory of Relativity (GTR). The History of Principe Island, was one of the stages that contributed in 1919, to the validation of this theory, one of the most important moments of the impact of GTR, from then on.

To mark the event, the symbolic Roça Sundy, the place where Sir Arthur Eddington observed the solar eclipse that provided the first evidence that Einstein was correct, was once again the stage for the already customary celebrations of 29 May, this time devoted to the theme of LIGHT. The program of activities took place with the participation of more than a hundred students with ages ranging from 3 to 15 years old during the morning (fig. 1 and 2).

Fig. 1 – Students during the explanation of the theory that was validated on May 29th 1919.

Fig. 1 – Students during the explanation of the theory that was validated on May 29th 1919. 

Fig. 2 – Students listening to the explanation about “Light Pollution on the science trail  science “.

Fig. 2 – Students listening to the explanation about “Light Pollution on the science trail  science “.

During the day, the invited scientist, Rosa Doran, explained Light in Astronomy to the adults, in particular, Light Pollution framed in the International Year of Light and talked about some of the projects that are being developed in this field (fig. 3).

Being a specialist in Black Holes and as this theme is related to the GTR, Rosa Doran addressed as simply as possible, complex concepts in a Science-café(a moment where people talk about a scientific theme while drinking coffee and eating cake) at Passô restaurant, in a session that culminated in a night sky observation right next to Santo Antonio bay (fig. 4 and 5). 

Fig. 3 – Rosa Doran’s lecture at Roça Sundy about the International Year of Light

Fig. 3 – Rosa Doran’s lecture at Roça Sundy about the International Year of Light

Fig. 4 – Science-café about Black Holes at Passô restaurant.

Fig. 4 –Science-café about Black Holes at Passô restaurant.

Fig. 7 – Outreach session for the 7th and 8th Grade students from Inhame Beach.

Fig. 7 – Outreach session for the 7th and 8th Grade students from Inhame Beach.

Fig. 9 – Rosa Doran and Egino Santiago with some of the Galileo teachers of Principe.

Fig. 9 – Rosa Doran and Egino Santiago with some of the Galileo teachers of Principe.

The same theme was addressed again in an experiment, with a group of volunteer students who were involved in an international project called “Black Holes in my School”, also coordinated by Rosa Doran. Between familiarization with theoretical concepts, the viewing and the discussion of the movie “Interstellar”, the students initiated an approach to the software “Salsa J” to use some of the photometry tools (fig.6).

Fig. 5 - Night sky observation next to Santo Antonio bay.

Fig. 5 - Night sky observation next to Santo Antonio bay.

During the week, Rosa Doran maintained contact with the students from Principe’s Secondary School in the different sessions of Science Outreach, where the following themes were addressed: the solar system, galaxies, the life cycle of stars, daily life of the International Space Station Astronauts, and awareness of human actions on Planet Earth. The vastness of the Universe raised fruitful debates about the relativity of time, the possibility of other life forms that may yet be unknown and the relation between science and religion (fig. 7). 

Being the coordinator of the Galileo Teacher Training Program (GTTP), Rosa Doran promoted training sessions for the Physics and Mathematics teachers. They were introduced to the European project Inspiring Science Education where they had the opportunity to learn more about the inquiry methodology and how to use modern tools for science education. 

The representation of GTTP in Principe began in 2013, during the event “Eclipse2013: History and Science in Principe Island” after which training sessions were developed for the teachers of Principe’s Secondary school in an online and classroom setting. From this, the certification of one Galileo ambassador and eight Galileo teachers came about to reinforce the participation of Principe in this International project (fig. 8 and 9)

Fig. 8 – Training session for Physics teachers.

Fig. 8 – Training session for Physics teachers.