NSF and American Museum of Natural History
For over the last 10 years Prof. Dennis M. Robbins has been one of the principal investigators of a National Science Foundation grant “AstroComNYC” in cooperation with the American Museum of Natural History. The grant supports efforts to increase representation in STEM fields, particularly women in the physical sciences. Every year Prof. Robbins teaches a course at the museum for the student scholars in this program who are mostly undergraduate physics majors and come from all of the CUNY colleges.
The curriculum is based on the deeper nature of science and the understanding “scientific reasoning.” The students in this course, with Robbins as the faculty research advisor, work on a NASA grant to design experiments to be placed on the surface of the Moon. This project is part of the larger mission to return humans beings to the Moon called “Artemis” named for the Greek Goddess of the Moon. A robotic lander will put their equipment on the Moon and send them data here on Earth. Their research group has designed experiments to examine lunar crustal movement, test for the presence of water, and determine the level of micrometorite impacts.
Their research group also does public outreach. The student scholars visited NYC schools to discuss their project with middle and high school students hoping to inspire future generations towards STEM interests.
While some of the scholars have moved off to graduate school to study astrophysics, the group will reunite to witness the ultimate launch of the spacecraft carrying their experiments to a lunar destination.
The work was featured on CUNY TV news.