Between astronomy and particle physics: Outreach at the Pierre Auger Observatory
The Pierre Auger Observatory, dedicated to the detection and study of Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays, has as one of it fundamental missions outreach activities. With this in mind, a specially conceived Visitor Center was included in the design of the Pierre Auger campus in the city of Malarg¨ue, Mendoza, Argentina. One of its main objectives is the contact with the community, through educational courses, talks, conferences and workshops for differen t levels. The permanent exchange between the Pierre Auger scientists and teachers, professionals and society, is important to the impact of the Observatory in the vision by the community of science in general, and scientists in particular. Activities in the outreach area during the last 10 years, resulted in changes to the curricula of study in the schools. Important topics are discussed,
like astronomy, light pollution control, and modification of the behavior of the local society. In this presentation we will show how an extensive outreach program, organized by scientists in contact with the community and based on (or near) a research center, can be a factor of social transformation.