Like science in your science fiction? Like stories set in space that aren’t full of errors? Like to inspire the next generation to pursue careers in science?
Consider making a donation to the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop for Writers crowdsourcing project at Rocket Hub. Alumni of the workshop are donating books for various donation levels, both ebooks and signed copies. Full disclosure: I’m a founder of the workshop, and am volunteering my time already.
Launchpad is held for a week every summer at the University of Wyoming. In that week, participants get a crash course in astronomy and science communication more generally. There are a mix of lectures, discussions, hands-on activities, and trips to use our telescopes including the 2.3 meter Wyoming InfraRed Observatory (WIRO) on nearby Jelm Mountain. Attendees report back overwhelmingly positive experiences, and new stories and novels featuring more or better astronomy have emerged as a result.
In the past, the workshop was funded by grants to me from NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NASA program that funded us is currently on hiatus (perhaps forever). The NSF funding through a research program, and the success rate at NSF has dropped to about ten percent, and the last try was not successful. It’s a tough budget environment out there.
We’ve received a generous grant from Uwingu already, but still need to raise more money to try to reduce tuition costs for participants. My view has always been that our attendees are professionals (e.g., Robert Sawyer, Ellen Datlow, Walter Jon Williams, Jay Lake, Carrie Vaughn, Jeffrey Carver, Jody Lynn, Nye, Julie V. Jones, Marc Laidlaw, Nancy Kress, Scott Sigler, Mary Robinette Kowal, etc.). They’re doing us a service, boning up on their astronomy, and putting it in their work to educate and inspire their audiences. Our participants include the Analog mafia crew, but are much more diverse and include fantasy writers, editors, filmmakers, video game writers, science journalists, and others.
We’re going to keep proposing for new grants to support future years, but it’s all private funds and tuition for 2013. Consider helping us out. Thanks!