Switching Gears

Friday, May 31, 2013

I was talking to my mother the other day, and in a turn of events that gets increasingly rarer as my coursework is increasingly over her head, we ended up talking about science.
"Remember that blog you had for your introductory astronomy class? I liked when you answered all of the questions." 
"Yes, mother, but all my coursework has been really mathematical recently." 
"Don't lose the ability to talk to laypeople about astronomy."

For reasons unknown, that stuck with me.  I haven't enjoyed talking about science a lot recently, and I've enjoyed doing it even less, but this conversation with my parents combined with a discussion I had with one of my professors a couple of weeks back about the importance of outreach sealed my fate.  So here I am over a year after I abandoned my Ay 20 course blog writing about science again.

This time I'm not going into it with a set plan.  I'm doing this for me, not for an assignment so it will be decidedly less structured.  I might talk rather a lot about ULXs, as that's what my summer and thesis research will be.  I might not talk at all for long stretches.  There may be interjections made about day-to-day life as a 22 year old double major walking existential crisis, particularly as I try to navigate my upcoming senior year.  Who knows!

Anyway, what I'm really trying to say is: watch this space.

2 Responses to Switching Gears

  1. I am really glad you are back to writing. And your two academic loves suggest that your disclaimer -- that you might veer from writing solely about astro -- is entirely valid.

    I have a question you can address in a future post or reject as being too dumb:

    We were watching Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan after having seen the latest Star Trek, whose name escapes me (You can read it as "He's getting old" or "The movie mustn't have been memorable." The correct answer is ...). Anyway, Kirk takes the Enterprise into a nearby nebula and Khan follows. Their external communications equipment no longer works (e.g., they can't see each other except occasionally with their radars) and they can't lock their torpedoes/phasers on each other and so, must do battle under manual control. However, all electronics within each starship continues to work flawlessly. Now, I realize no real human has ever been within a million miles of a nebula. However, based on what astrophysicists currently know of the physics of a nebula, are both these possible?