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Outreach Activities

Lind Gee, Rick McKenzie, Robert Uhrhammer

Interactive University Project

The BSL is collaborating with a number of UC Berkeley departments and organized research units to coordinate education and outreach activities through the Interactive University Project (IUP). The goal of the IUP is to foster the use of the Internet and other examples of "information infrastructure" to provide community service. With funding provided by the Department of Commerce, the Berkeley Pledge, and corporate participants such as ATT, Pacific Bell, and IBM, the IUP partners are working with K-12 schools, community-based organizations, small businesses, public libraries, and other local groups. As part of the IUP, the BSL, the Museum of Paleontology, the Space Sciences Laboratory, and the Center for Particle Astrophysics have formed a science cluster called "Integrating Science, Teaching, and Technology" (ISTAT) with a focus on education in grades 6-12. We received a small 18 month grant in 1996 to initiate this project. Based on our success, we submitted a second proposal last fall and received funding for a 3 year project with Gloria Davis Middle School, Horace Mann Academic Middle School, Galileo High School, Mission High School, and Thurgood Marshall Academic High School in the San Francisco Unified School District.

Over the past 6 months, we have worked with lead teachers to review the new San Francisco science and math standards and to identify "gaps" between existing resources and materials and the required content. With the middle school teachers, we are putting together  2 weeks of curriculum materials, centered around a REDI/CUBE display. We are developing an exercise focused on earthquake data to familiarize students with handling and graphing data, ie, producing maps, histograms, etc. We are supplementing the material under development with resources from FEMA (Tremor Troops and Seismic Sleuths) and from other sources.

Our project with the 9th grade teachers is extremely challenging. San Francisco has recently adopted new textbooks with the goal of teaching Earth and Space Sciences in the 9th grade. This represents a major change, as "Integrated Science" had been the previous paradigm. We are working with the teachers to develop a working outline for the curriculum and to supplement the text with existing resources.

In addition, we worked closely with several summer school teachers this year. Lind Gee gave a day-long workshop on seismology, following the IRIS "Teaching the Teachers" model.

Educational Displays

As part of the BSL's outreach activities, we have made REDI earthquake data available to a number of universities, colleges, and museums as educational displays. As noted above, this year marked the expansion of this program to the K-12 environment. Participating organizations receive a REDI pager and the Qpager software to display the earthquake information. The Qpager program maps the previous seven days of seismicity, with earthquake shown as a dot. The size of the dot indicates the magnitude of the event, while the color of the dot indicates its age. These educational displays have been installed at UC Berkeley (McCone Hall, Earthquake Engineering Research Center, LHS), California Academy of Sciences, CSU Fresno, CSU Northridge, Caltech, College of the Redwoods, Humboldt State University, Sonoma State University, Stanford University (Blume Engineering Center, Department of Geophysics), UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego, and USC. In addition to the seismicity displays, the BSL provides local waveform feeds for helicorders at several visitor centers associated with BDSN stations (ARC, CMB, MHC, and MIN). Organizations such as LHS, KRON, and KPIX receive feeds from BKS via dedicated phone lines for display, while the USGS Menlo Park uses data from CMB for display in the lobby of the seismology building. The BSL has also loaned a seismometer and helicorder display to the San Leandro Unified School District for their use in science classes.


Over the last year, we have continued to expand our presence on the WWW. Our primary goal has been to provide a source of earthquake information for the public, although we also provide information about the networks, such as station profiles, which benefits the research community as well. We provide such information as seminar schedules, course advertisements, descriptions of operations and research, updates on recent earthquake activity, details on Bay Area seismicity and hazards, and links to other earthquake and earth science servers. We also use the WWW server for our own information distribution, with such details as the computing and operational resources, rosters, and schedules for various purposes. We are currently working on a new Java program to display real-time seismograms. Undergraduate Sheer El Showk is working on the development of a continuous helicorder-style display. The goal is to provide a new facility for our Web server and to replace the some of the actual helicorders still in use at the BSL.

Earthquake Research Affiliates Program

The UC Berkeley Earthquake Research Affiliates (ERA) Program is an outreach project of the BSL, the Department of Geology and Geophysics, and the Earthquake Engineering Research Center. The purpose is to promote the support of earthquake research while involving corporations and governmental agencies in academic investigation and education activities such as conferences and field trips. The ERA program provides an interface between the academic investigation and practical application of earthquake studies.

Tours and Presentations

BSL staff have also spent considerable time with public relations activities during the past year. Several tours are given each month, with audiences ranging from middle-school students to scientists and engineers from China, Korea, and Japan. In addition to the usual tours, Drs. Romanowicz, Uhrhammer, and Gee presented talks on earthquakes and related phenomena to public groups. The staff routinely answers questions about earthquakes and seismic activity in response to inquiries from the public. In response to our WWW server and the phenomenal growth of the Internet, we have experienced an enormous volume of questions via e-mail in the last year.

Cal Day

For the second time in as many years, the BSL did not participate in in UC Berkeley's Cal Day Open House. After assessing the impact of the McCone Hall renovation project on the potential activities, we decided that it would be too difficult to host open house activities this year. We look forward to participating next year in our newly renovated quarters!

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Next: Ongoing Research - Local Up: Operations Previous: Network Data Analysis

The Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, 202 McCone Hall, UC Berkeley, Berkeley CA 94720
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