Impact of the Arizona NExSS Winter School on Astrobiology Knowledge and Attitudes

Michael Burnam-Fink, Steven Desch, Daniella Scalice, Hilarie Davis, Cierra J. Huff, Dániel Apai

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Astrobiology is an inherently interdisciplinary area of study, demanding communication across multiple fields: astronomy, geochemistry, planetary science, and so on. Successful communication requires that researchers be aware of the basic findings, open questions, and tools and techniques of allied fields and possess an appreciation and respect for what these fields consider good science. To facilitate this communication between early-career researchers, the Arizona NExSS Winter School was hosted in February 2016, bringing together graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from backgrounds spanning the field of astrobiology. Students virtually attended a scientific Workshop Without Walls and participated in lectures, discussions, field trips, and hands-on activities, culminating in the writing and review of mock proposals by interdisciplinary teams. We assess the impact of the school on interdisciplinarity using a pre- and posttest survey of 24 students, informed by National Science Foundation impact categories (Friedman et al., 2008) within the Impact Analysis Method (IAM) described by Davis and Scalice (2015). We demonstrate that students gained knowledge, especially in fields outside their home discipline. Furthermore, an underlying disciplinary divide between geochemists and planetary scientists on the role of life in planetary evolution is observed and interpreted. These findings demonstrate that the Arizona NExSS Winter School had measurable impact on interdisciplinarity and that the IAM rubric has utility in measuring impact. We make recommendations for further research to understand the interdisciplinary gaps in astrobiology and how best to bridge them. Key Words: Interdisciplinarity - Attitudes - Knowledge - Scientific dialogue - Training.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)365-375
    Number of pages11
    JournalAstrobiology
    Volume18
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

    Fingerprint

    Exobiology
    exobiology
    winter
    students
    student
    Students
    researchers
    Research Personnel
    communication
    Planetary Evolution
    communication (human)
    Astronomy
    Interdisciplinary Studies
    Communication
    planetary evolution
    geochemistry
    astronomy
    methodology
    lectures
    Education

    Keywords

    • Attitudes
    • Interdisciplinarity
    • Knowledge
    • Scientific dialogue
    • Training

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Space and Planetary Science

    Cite this

    Impact of the Arizona NExSS Winter School on Astrobiology Knowledge and Attitudes. / Burnam-Fink, Michael; Desch, Steven; Scalice, Daniella; Davis, Hilarie; Huff, Cierra J.; Apai, Dániel.

    In: Astrobiology, Vol. 18, No. 3, 01.03.2018, p. 365-375.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Burnam-Fink, M, Desch, S, Scalice, D, Davis, H, Huff, CJ & Apai, D 2018, 'Impact of the Arizona NExSS Winter School on Astrobiology Knowledge and Attitudes' Astrobiology, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 365-375. https://doi.org/10.1089/ast.2017.1710
    Burnam-Fink, Michael ; Desch, Steven ; Scalice, Daniella ; Davis, Hilarie ; Huff, Cierra J. ; Apai, Dániel. / Impact of the Arizona NExSS Winter School on Astrobiology Knowledge and Attitudes. In: Astrobiology. 2018 ; Vol. 18, No. 3. pp. 365-375.
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