Posts made in February, 2007


Everyday Days of an Instructor


Posted By on Feb 26, 2007

As an instructor I find that there are good days – days when my students remind me of why I selected my profession, and there are also bad days when small collections of specific students make me really frustrated. Most days, however, are just days where all of us are just trying to get through life. The measure of a career is ticked away in these more average days. The quality of these everyday days varies from place to place,...

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Helix hides Comets in its Core


Posted By on Feb 14, 2007

It is easy in astronomy to lump different objects into specific groups. At the top-most level, there are stars, galaxies, planetary systems (including asteroids and comets), and dust-bunnies interstellar and intergalactic media (clouds and nebula). Looking a bit deeper, each of these categories can be nit-picked apart into more sub-categories. For instance, stars can be divided up by energy generation mechanism, or mass, or both. But,...

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Scientists this week have discovered three previously undiscovered species: a new species of reef lobster living off the cost of the Philippines, a new source of gamma-ray radiation associated with star forming regions, and a new class neutron star+supergiant binary found the Milky Way Galaxy. Each of these three discoveries leads it’s respective discoverers to believe there are a myriad of things still waiting to found in the...

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Education: Some Assembly Required

Education: Some Assembly Required


Posted By on Feb 6, 2007

While I was at Michigan State University, we had a change of president. The new guy in charge (at that time – it’s changed again since then) was M. Peter McPherson (and, as he would tell you, McPherson rhymes with person). He came from a business background, and under his guidance, students became consumers and professors became the provider of a specific good – an education. This idea of education being something...

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One of the common questions I get is (averaged across many versions) “Why don’t all stars become black holes – don’t they all have gravity? And why don’t they start as Black Holes – didn’t they start with all that mass that made them become black holes? Balancing stars against gravitational collapse is actually a process that is much more simple than many people think. When a star forms, the...

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