BATH, Mich. — Michigan State University graduate student Brandon Barker is passionate about stars and says he loves to share his knowledge.
“Some of my favorite stuff is exploring the lives of stars. That includes how they were born and how they change throughout their lives. I’m fascinated on how they use heavier elements and how they ultimately, at the ends of their life, maybe explode and spread those heavy elements out through the universe as fertilizer enriching new planets and new stars with things like carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, all the things that we need for life.”
Barker is part of a local group called Astronomy on Tap.
Astronomers, scientists and educators get together for informal presentations each month at a local brew pub or other places of interest that sell beer.
They invite the public to join them for informal presentations on space and science, all while enjoying a cold one.
It’s a trend sweeping the nation and is run by volunteers.
Dr. Chelsea Harris helps to organize the local branch of Astronomy on Tap. Dr. Harris says the informal meet-ups are fun and educational.
“It’s great. I feel there is a lot of connection with members of the community that otherwise I might not get to talk to. A lot of my other outreach focuses more on children, so they're not usually drinking," Dr. Harris said. "So, this is kind of nice because our audience is a wide range of people. You have some people in the audience who know a lot, and then, you can have these cool conversations with them, or they'll just ask awesome questions.”
Dr. Harris says you don’t have to know anything about astronomy to enjoy the presentations. It’s just an informal way to learn something new and meet new friends.
Topics can range from planets to black holes to galaxies to the beginning of the universe, mixed in with trivia, games, prizes and music.
Presenters are typically from local research and educational institutions and include visiting scientists and educators.
Elias Aydi is with the group and says it’s a great way to meet new people.
“When you do something just because you love it and want to share it with someone else, it's a lot of fun, and it’s a good feeling,” Aydi said.
We want to say thank you to the volunteers of the local branch of Astronomy on Tap for organizing fun and educational gatherings while sharing a cold beer.
You are this week’s Good Neighbors.
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