Posts made in August, 2007

What is science?

Posted By on Aug 20, 2007

As a science prof, I hear lots of people in lots of different scenarios trying to define what is the act of doing science. I’ve heard people define science as the act of doing experiments that involve carefully controlling one variable while varying only one other thing. (Um, we can’t do that in astronomy). I’ve heard science is the act of doing experiments that build on past knowledge to improve our understanding in...

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Einstein was not wrong.

Posted By on Aug 19, 2007

I’ve reached a stage in my career in which I have started to get letters addressed directly to my from people who state Einstein was wrong and then typically provide 3 to a lot of pages describing, typically with no math, why Einstein was wrong and why their new theory is right. Here’s the thing. At this stage in the game, even if we do someday find short comings in Einstein’s theories, we won’t be proving his...

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Of used cars and more used shuttles

Posted By on Aug 17, 2007

I have a 1997 Jeep Wrangler. It is a good car that rarely gets driven because it guzzles gas. Sometimes though, when the weather is clear and I have no care for the status of my hair, my Jeep and I hit the road at high speeds. He (my jeep is a male named Sebastian) was my first major car purchase, and was my companion going to horse shows, to dog parks, on observing runs, on 4 different cross country moves, and through a lot of thick...

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Giants and Dwarfs with Barium

Posted By on Aug 16, 2007

I’m beginning to think that a large fraction of the astronomical community is in pre-semester stars chaos. The number of press releases has radically slowed, and the journal articles just don’t seem to be flying as fast and furious as normal. Admittedly, this is a personal impression, and while I have data to support the number of press releases, it could simply be some wishful thinking that makes the number of papers seem...

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I’m a space experiment

Posted By on Aug 14, 2007

I’m not sure how I so totally missed this mission. Today I was flipping through the pre-print server and came across a paper titled: Launch of the Space experiment PAMELA. This is a “we launched and are functioning” paper about a 2006 mission to measure cosmic rays. (mission homepage) My first thought was, wow, this explains so much… My second thought was, neat future science. This primarily Italian and Russian...

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