The Museum of Astronomy and Related Sciences (MAST) is a research unit of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MCTI), created in the city of Rio de Janeiro on 8 March 1985. Its mission is to expand the access of society to scientific and technological knowledge through research, the preservation of collections, dissemination, and the history of science and technology in Brazil.
What are its areas of research?
MAST’s researchers and specialists carry out studies in the areas of the History of Science and Technology in Brazil, Education in Science in Non-Formal Spaces, Museology, and the Heritage of Science and Technology. Research is also carried out in the areas of scientific dissemination, the preservation and restoration of metallic and paper objects, tourism, and information technology.
What are its scientific dissemination activities?
Scientific dissemination includes, amongst other areas, Sky Observation, Guided Visits, and School Visits, which must be scheduled in advance. At the weekends, there is an alternating program for the visiting public, such as: Cycle of Talks in Astronomy, Science Cinema, Telling Myths, Inflatable Planetarium, Cooking with Chemistry, Playing with Maths, ASTROmania, and Do It Yourself. The permanent and temporary exhibitions are exhibited in the main building, while the itinerant exhibitions have the aim of extending to schools and other institutions the work carried out in MAST.
Who works in MAST?
MAST’s research team includes specialists with an academic background from different areas of knowledge, who are dedicated to scientific investigation, post-graduate teaching, and the dissemination of science. In addition, MAST has specialists and collaborators in the fields of architecture, archivology, graphic arts, fine arts, librarianship, the conservation and restoration of paper and metal objects, journalism, museology, and information technology. MAST also has technical assistants and analysts responsible for guaranteeing the correct functioning of administrative positions within the institution.
Does MAST offer post-graduate and professional training courses?
MAST offers Master’s and Doctoral courses in the Post-Graduate Program in Museology and Heritage, and a Master’s in the Post-Graduate Program in History, both in partnership with Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO); a specialization course in the Dissemination of Science, Technology, and Health, in partnership with COC/Fiocruz, Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, and UFRJ; a Post-Graduate Program in the Preservation of Science and Technology Collections, in the Professional Master’s mode, based on the specialization course with the same name; and various further education and continuous teacher training courses.
What are MAST’s research grant programs?
Undergraduate students can apply for research grants in the areas MAST is involved in, under the supervision of its researchers. Grants are offered through the CNPq Institutional Program for Scientific Initiation Grants (Programa Institucional de Bolsas de Iniciação Científica – PIBIC). Grants for the MCTI Institutional Training Program (Programa de Capacitação Institucional – PCI) are exclusively for researchers with Doctoral, Master’s, or Bachelor degrees. A grant program for secondary school students is currently being implemented.
How can I find out more about the work of MAST?
MAST uses its site to inform the public about exhibitions and other scientific dissemination activities being carried out: place, date and time, access, and the target public.
It also provides information about collections, courses, workshops, and scientific events, in relation to ongoing research projects and the LIRE, LAMET, and LAPEL laboratories. Listed in the publications menu are the academic and technical works published by MAST, many of which are available for consultation and downloading on-line. The reports contain a general overview of the annual work carried out by the institution.
Where is MAST located?
MAST is located in the north of Rio de Janeiro city, in the same campus as the National Observatory and close to other research institutes and museums. A new building was opened in 2010 to guarantee proper infrastructure suited to the preservation of its archival, iconographic, and museological collections, and for research and laboratory activities. The library remains in the main building, but will shortly be transferred to a new building that is currently being constructed.