The 2022 Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement has been awarded to Dr Kosmas Gazeas and the team behind the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ tactile exhibition.
‘Planets In Your Hand’ is an interactive, mobile set of models of planetary surfaces, constructed in square frames, that gives a multisensory impression of the wide variety of surface characteristics and environmental properties of the planets in our Solar System.
The Planets In Your Hand (PIYH) team is one of the most active science communication groups in the Department of Physics of the NKUA and it was founded in 2017 when a group of students submitted a proposal for the “Europlanet Funding Scheme 2017” organized by Europlanet, the European network of planetary science. Their proposal was evaluated, distinguished among many others and awarded, receiving funding for its implementation.
The award was presented during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 in Granada on behalf of the team to Dimitrios Athanasopoulos, who gave a 20-minute prize lecture. The team will also receive a cash award of 1500 Euros.
The exhibition, although suitable for people of all ages, has been specifically designed for visually impaired audiences, and has travelled to schools, universities and private institutes and organizations, reaching thousands of visitors to date.
The idea of the proposal, “Planets in Your Hand”, was funded by Europlanet to build specially designed exhibits, in order to simulate the different conditions that exist on every planet of our Solar System.
Dr Gazeas, the team lead, who is a lecturer of observational astrophysics in the Department of Physics of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece), said: “We are deeply honoured to receive the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement for our efforts in science communication and public outreach activities in the frame of the project Planets In Your Hand. The selection of our project by the judges acts like a confirmation to the team for the hard work that has been done since 2017 and especially during the past 3 years.”
See more pictures from the awarding ceremony: