X-ray astronomy and AXAF are relatively unknown entities outside of the science community. The ASC has initiated an Education and Outreach activity to bring information from and about the world of X-ray astronomy to a broad range of public audiences, from the average citizen, to students and educators, to the press.
Our activities prior to launch will focus on the development and dissemination of explanatory materials about the AXAF mission and X-ray astronomy to help prepare the public to understand and appreciate the AXAF science. Our materials will stress key science and technology concepts, explain the kinds of objects and scientific problems that X-ray astronomers study, and place the AXAF science in the context of major issues being addressed today in astrophysics, astronomy, and physics. In this phase we will initiate an education and outreach Web site and produce other background materials (briefing materials, fact sheets, posters, etc.) for use with public, press, and education audiences. We have begun working with educators to identify areas of the AXAF mission which can be used in the classroom as the basis of lesson plans or hands-on activities. As this material is developed, it will be placed on the web site and disseminated through education-related organizations.
The enthusiastic cooperation and participation of the science community will be key to the success of our education and outreach program. A URL for the web site will be placed on the ASC home page in the September time frame: we urge you to look for that posting, to visit the outreach pages, and to send us your comments on the initial site material and suggestions for additional topics and activities to add. We will be organizing several activities in which we hope the AXAF community will participate. Our first effort in this area will be to develop and maintain a ``speakers bureau'' of scientists, engineers, and other professionals who are willing to talk to a range of public audiences about AXAF, particularly in their local areas. If you are interested in joining this activity, please contact Wallace Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org. To support this effort, we will develop set of AXAF briefing materials. The materials will be placed on our web site in downloadable format, and will also be available for loan in hardcopy viewgraph format.
These opportunities and others will be posted on our outreach web site. We urge you to contact us with your ideas for AXAF-related materials or activities. We are aware that many of you are already involved in outreach activities and will have valuable insights to offer. We hope to hear from many of you! For further information, contact email@example.com.