ASTRONOMICAL EDUCATION IN GERMANY AND RELATIONS TO KONSTANTIN EDUARDOWITSCH ZIOLKOWSKI

OlafKretzer
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2015 .

Konstantin Eduardowitsch Ziolkowski had a lot of dreams - he was not only interested in the development of new rockets or the flight to the outer space but also in teaching astronomy and space travel to the youth.

When looking back into the past for a long time we can not find the subject space travel in the curriculum of our schools. It was perceived as science fiction rather than accepted as a real science. A similar problem existed for the subject astronomy.

In the former state of the GDR the school subject astronomy was introduced at school in 1959. At the age of 15 or 16 pupils had the possibility to learn astronomy and space travel for one or two hours per week.

In the former FRG the subjects astronomy and space travel were hardly taught.

Since 1989 the educational system has been changed completely. Todays Germany consists of 16 federal states where each of them has the sovereignty over education which means each state decides about the subjects to be taught.

I come from Suhl, the twin town of Kaluga. This small town with about 40.000 inhabitants is situated in the southwest of the federal state of Thuringia. In 1966 an observatory was built, followed by a planetarium in 1969. In 1975 this facility was awarded the name Konstantin Eduardowitsch Ziolkowski of which we are still very proud. After 1989 we had to fight for the subject astronomy because there were some plans to remove the subject from the curriculum. Today we can proudly say that astronomy is still one of the school subjects in Thuringia.

While teaching astronomy you have to appreciate the pre-eminence of Konstantin Eduardowitsch Ziolkowski. His findings and predictions for the repulsion of rockets, the elevator to the space and the solar sailing are still relevant for the science.

Therefore Ziolkowski and his accomplishments can be found in many school text books.

During my daily work at our observatory and planetarium I try to show our pupils and our guests the amazing role which Ziolkowski played and still plays today for the development of space travel.

Let me show how deeply we honour Ziolkowski and let me give you some examples to demonstrate Ziolkowskis role in our school lessons, curricula and public life.