Astronomy Has A Sign Language Problem

Advancements in modern science are
happening every single day and researchers are learning more about the
universe at a pace that only grows faster. Incredible right? But there is a
problem. One of the ways people actually converse about these advancements is
struggling to keep up. According to an astrophysicist at the University of
Leeds, deaf people are some of the most disadvantaged when it comes to astronomy because there are no new signs for terms describing the latest discoveries. For
example British Sign Language has only about 100 basic signs that describe
elements of astronomy. A sign for Black Holes was only recently created even
though we’ve been talking about them for decades. So a team of language experts,
deaf scientists, astronomy enthusiasts and science communicators teamed up and
they designed more than 50 new signs. There are also signs now for concepts
like protoplanetary disks exosolar planets and interferometric telescopes.
After the team creates a new sign a video definition is entered into a
digital database that can be found online. Not only is the project going to
help deaf people around the world respond and converse about the latest
discoveries in astronomy, it’s going to open up possibilities for those
interested in actually becoming scientists themselves and extra
brainpower only means the rate at which we’re answering questions about the
universe will only get faster. For space TV news I’m Cambrie Caldwell.

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