Professor Adams presents in Alaska

A Fort Hays State University professor recently returned from Anchorage, Alaska, where he was invited to present at the Heliophysics Educator Ambassador Program.

Dr. Paul Adams, Anschutz Professor of Education, professor of physics and director of the Science and Mathematics Education Institute at FHSU was asked to speak about ways middle- and high-school instructors can teach the science related to the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite mission in our schools.

"The AIM satellite mission studies noctilucent clouds in the mesosphere which are considered to be the miner's canary of global warming," said Adams. "By making this topic familiar to educators and students, we can decrease the amount of harmful emissions in our atmosphere while enhancing the quality of curriculum in our schools today."

Noctilucent clouds are the highest clouds in the Earth's atmosphere, located in the mesosphere at altitudes of roughly 50 miles. They are normally too faint to be seen and are visible only when illuminated by sunlight from below the horizon while the lower layers of the atmosphere are in the Earth's shadow. Noctilucent clouds are a relatively new meteorological phenomenon, with the first observation recorded in 1885.

Focus at the HEA program was centered on in-depth learning experiences of Earth, space and physical science topics. The goal is to develop the capacity to provide middle-  and high-school educators with the skills needed to train other teachers on heliophysics science and educational recourses. 

The HEA program will provide educators with a week-long training and follow-up support for several years via teleconference calls and other electronic communications. Participating instructors will then have the opportunity to implement lesson plans based on NASA heliophysics in their own classrooms and to train other teachers at development conferences or meetings.

Alongside Adams were other experts from around the country who were selected to help launch the HEA program at the workshop in Anchorage. Additional guest presenters included instructors from Hampton University, Va., the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Md., and the Center for Science Education at UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory, Calif., among others.

"As a member of the FHSU family and science community, it was an honor to help launch the Heliophysics Educator Ambassador Program that will give our middle and high school instructors the resources needed to teach students about these global impacts," said Adams.

To learn more about the Science and Mathematics Education Institute at FHSU, visit

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