Umass Dartmouth 50+ Group Explores The Universe In Manhattan

DARTMOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS - Forty-one adults who had recently completed a course entitled "New Dimensions of the Universe" and others area residents interested in astronomy boarded a bus last fall for a day trip to the Rose Center for Earth and Space in Manhattan. This program and others like it are part of the academic and social line up offered by The Second Half: Lifelong Learning @50+ program affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

DARTMOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS - Forty-one adults who had recently completed a course entitled “New Dimensions of the Universe” and others area residents interested in astronomy boarded a bus last fall for a day trip to the Rose Center for Earth and Space in Manhattan. This program and others like it are part of the academic and social line up offered by The Second Half: Lifelong Learning @50+ program affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. 

Interest in the trip, originally planned for course members only, quickly grew beyond that when both members and non-members signed up. Westport residents Ellen Christie, the Director of The Second Half: Lifelong Learning @50+ program and Salma Jabbour assisted group leader Jack Edwards of Little Compton in planning and organizing the trip. 

“Is there an interest among older adults in new scientific developments? Are they curious about dramatic recent findings on the age, size and composition of the universe? The answer is a resounding “yes” according to Edwards. 

Mr. Edwards added, “Our course is aimed at individuals without a scientific background but have strong curiosity about the origin and future of the universe. It is one of several courses offered through the program that focus on science topics.” 

The new Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History proved to be the ideal destination. The new building has a dramatic contemporary design and has been host to thousands of visitors since it was first built several years ago. The centerpiece of the day’s program featured a graphic and light show in the great dome, taking spectators back to the beginning of the universe and placing the planet Earth in a vast array of galaxies. The group was also given an opportunity to visit related exhibits at other locations in the museum. 

“ The courses are based on non-technical, widely published readings and internet sources,” said Edwards. “They focus on recent scientific issues and developments of broad interest to an adult audience.” 

Mina Otis a resident of Dartmouth who took the course and the trip to New York said, 
“ I’ll never see the night skies in the same way again”. Julie Cleare of Fall River added, “The virtual reality of the show in the dome swept us through the galaxy and beyond.” Julie’s father taught astronomy at Durfee High School in Fall River forty years ago and was director of the observatory there. 

The course will be repeated this spring of 2004 and similar science courses are planned for the Fall 2204 term. Anyone interested in additional information should contact Ellen Christie, Director by telephone at 508-677-4694 or via email at echristie@umassd.edu 


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