While you read this in June, our big IPS gathering—the 22nd biennial conference in Beijing, China—is only a few days away. IPS 2014 is attracting planetarium professionals from around the world and I do hope to see you there June 23-27! Please consult the conference website (www.ips2014.org) for late-breaking details. (Link now contains historic information only.)
Please understand that this current president´s message was written in very busy times and hence is considerably shorter than usual, with just some bullet points for you to look after.
IPS 2014 Elections
The call for nominations for president elect, secretary and treasurer for 2015-2016 will close at the IPS2014 business meeting in Beijing, with the last chance for nominations from the floor. Please contact Martin George, chair of the Elections Committee, at martingeorge3@ hotmail.com, if you have any questions about this election. More information is posted on the IPS Website and on the the IPS Election Committee pages.
All members will be informed about the candidates and voting will start in September via electronic ballots on our website. You will be notified about that soon after the IPS 2014 conference.
Bids for hosting IPS 2018
Who will be hosting the 24th IPS conference, after IPS 2016 in Warsaw? We will not know until IPS council votes on that in 2015, but we will know the candidates for 2018 because they will present their bids at IPS 2014 in Beijing.
Hence, if you are attending IPS 2014 you will be able to see the presentations first hand, ask questions, and meet with potential hosts face to face. All the presentations also will be distributed and reprinted in upcoming issues of our journal. I am thrilled about what could once more be a great international competition in the best spirit of IPS!
Keynotes at IPS 2014
Let us look again at IPS 2014, since it will be an unprecedented chance to learn about astronomy, science education and culture in Asia, and in China in particular.
I am really pleased about the lineup of keynote speakers for IPS 2014, which includes Mr. Ouyang Ziyuan, former chief scientist of China’s lunar exploration program; Mr. Sun Xiaochun, leading scientist on Chinese Ancient Astronomy; and Prof. NAME Samus of the Steinberg Institute at Moscow State University and chair of Eurasian Astronomy Society, who will talk on astronomy and astronomy education in Russia and nearby countries; and David J. Eicher, whom most of you know as editor-in-chief of Astronomy magazine, the world’s largest publication on the subject.
Dave is also president of the Astronomy Foundation, the telescope industry’s first-ever trade association, and author of 17 books on science and history. In his keynote talk, Dave will speak about “Communicating Astronomy in the 21st Century” and discuss the increasing challenges and complexity of communicating planetary science, astronomy, and cosmology in the fast-paced modern world we now live in, with many younger people awash in a continual world of entertainment and with new modes and methods of getting science out to the public.
His talk will describe exciting current developments, the new worlds of social media and digital publishing, and the challenges to spark interest in planetaria.
Dave and I are already exploring how IPS and Astronomy magazine can cooperate in this area and how this could give planetariums greater visibility. We intend to record Dave´s talk (and all keynote talks and other major events at IPS 2014) and make it available via download from the IPS member-only pages. This will be especially useful for those members who unfortunately could not attend our IPS Conference this time.
As usual we certainly will also gather the majority of the presentations in writing in our proceedings, which will be made available to our members as a digital publication.
Fulldome Awards at IPS 2014
In just a few days, on June 25 at IPS 2014 in Beijing, we also will present jointly with the Macao Science Center the first Fulldome Awards Night, featuring the winners of the IPS-Macao International Fulldome Festival.
The jury had a record-breaking number of 68 productions from all around the world to review and finally selected 30 fulldome films for the competition. Winners will be announced also on our website and in the next issue of Planetarian.
Sessions by IPS Committees
Another new feature of IPS 2014 will be sessions by IPS committee chairs surrounding the tasks they are working on for the benefit of IPS members. Among others, this includes a panel session on “So you want to build a planetarium- a 2014 update“ by the new IPS Planetarium Design and Operations committee chaired by Ian McLennan, plus a session on “Data to Domes” by Mark Subbarao, chair of the IPS Science and Data Visualisation Task Force.
New Tasks, New IPS Committees
There are two new IPS ad hoc committees beginning their work at the conference in Beijing.
Mark Webb the Adler Planetarium (Chicago) chairs “Live Presentation under the Dome” and will orchestrate workshops devoted to this important subject, which could evolve to form a pillar for professional development in our Vision 2020 strategy.
Rene Rodigast, audio researcher at Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology, Ilmenau, Germany, will gather interested IPS members and experts for defining requirements on sound and acoustics in planetariums.
Based on upcoming discussions at IPS 2014 and thereafter, an IPS committee will be formed and start to focus on high quality audio in the dome. This will include topics like room acoustics, spatial sound quality and acoustical immersion, and should lead towards audio standards, easier content exchange between planetariums, and affordable solutions.
The committee will cooperate with Ian’s committee, communicate with vendors, and support existing and new planetariums with advice to achieve optimum sound, allowing the audience a natural and fully immersive experience.
Spending most of our budgets and production efforts on visuals, most of us still seem to underestimate the role of sound and acoustics in our domes. But just think about it: the whole illusion of an infinite sky filled with a perfect star field will be immediately destroyed if the sound field reveals to our ears that we are still sitting in a small chamber just a few meters in diameter. That is why I felt it is time that IPS provides assistance here, and Rene will be a good mover and shaker for this and spearhead this new task for IPS.
I am sure we will be able and really need to reach out with these tasks to other groups with considerable expertise, such as IMERSA, the Giant Screen Theater Association, and the International Laser Display Association. After attending the recent and truly impressive IMERSA summit in Denver, I am even more convinced that we have to work together and benefit from all the expertise which is already there in our worldwide community of immersive theaters.
Future joint projects and memos of understanding with organizations like those mentioned above and also ECSITE and ASTC and scientific partners like NASA, ESA, ESO, JAXA, et.al. are already on the drawing board within our Vision 2020 strategy. I will inform you in the next issue of our journal about results and conclusions from the first IPS Vision 2020 workshops we scheduled during IPS 2014 in Beijing, gearing towards a better planetarium society we all want to build together.