At the University of California – Riverside, astronomers working together with experienced teachers at the California School for the Deaf – Riverside (CSDR), have developed a project aimed specifically to design an astronomy workshop for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. The Vibrating Universe is designed to make use of the special equipment at the CSDR multisensory lab together with an interactive presentation that uses publicly available natural sounds, enhanced sounds and sonified astronomical data to create vibrations.
Over eighty students, from third to eighth grade, attended and evaluated the workshop, which in turn was enhanced following their input. The results have been very encouraging, the workshop has had an incredible reception by the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, while providing an innovative, positive and engaging experience in science.
The project is lead by Mario De Leo-Winkler (UCR), Gillian Wilson (UCR), Tammy Mitchell (CSDR), Wendy Green (CSDR), Elizabeth Durham (CSDR), Lisa Chute (CSDR) and Gloria Daniels (CSDR). The Vibrating Universe was awarded funding through the broader impacts section of the “The GOGREEN Survey: Caring about the Environment” National Science Foundation grant led by Prof. Gillian Wilson (UCR), Prof. Michael Cooper (UCI), Prof. Gregory Rudnick (Univ. of Kansas).