on Treating your Researchers as People

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/education/2014/08/abds_all_but_dissertation_ph_d_candidates_who_can_t_quite_finish.html To summarize the article, 45-55% of people who embark on PhDs don’t actually complete their degree.  Some don’t begin the actual dissertation work, others begin a dissertation that takes years before they give up.  This, I have no real problem with.  The point of the PhD is that it’s supposed to be substantive, state…

onward, Voyager!

As of this week, Voyager 2 is 37 years old, having launched on August 20, 1977.  That makes it the longest-running space probe mission, easily surpassing the solar observatory Pioneer 6, launched in 1965 and last contacted in December 2000 (it’s not clear if they’ve tried since). Despite what Wikipedia says on its page on…

on Alternative Science

Astronomy and Physics captivate the minds of many.  That, in and of itself, is one of the strongest arguments you can make about why astronomy is important: People care about it.  We’re studying the rest of the entire universe, after all, and the universe is all that there is (and theoretical astrophysics, with its M…

How to Name Your Star

Naming stars is an annoying task.  The public wishes we’d come up with something more prosaic, like “Coruscant” or “Gallifrey”*, while we astronomers get confused about names of objects.  I mean, Barnard’s Star has over 40 names (really).  So, every so often members of the public end up complaining about some giant string of letters…

On Nearby Stars

The above video is something I made for my old research group, the Research Consortium on Nearby Stars (pi: Todd Henry).  I think it does a fairly good outlining what we know about the nearest stars, and the majesty of the whole thing is pretty well uplifted by that soundtrack (from Clarence Yapp). Everything you…