AAS Day 2, afternoon

Hi, all. I’m still at AAS. I haven’t been able to post as often as I would have liked because I’ve been tied up at the Sloan Digital Sky Survey exhibit booth (not literally). The SDSS is the source of all the images for Galaxy Zoo, so it’s an important part of what we’re all working on.

This morning, I finished my poster about Galaxy Zoo volunteers, which I’m giving tomorrow. Friday, Chris will be giving a talk about the science results, which have just gotten interesting again, in a way that is totally different from the way they were interesting before. More on that soon, from Kate.

Day 1 of the meeting is over, and Day 2 is underway. The highlight of Day 1’s programme was a speech by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin (not to be confused with American football player Michael Griffin). I wasn’t able to see it – these meetings are big enough, and there is always something going on, that not everyone gets to see everything – but Pamela, Fraser, and Phil did an excellent job reporting on the talk.

My day yesterday was pretty full. Like any big public meeting, AAS takes place in a convention center with a big open space for exhibits. A scientific meeting is similar in some ways to another such meeting, and different in some ways too. At a meeting like the Consumer Electronics Show (which is going on right now in Las Vegas), electronics manufacturers show off their latest consumer products in the exhibit hall. At AAS, there is also an exhibit hall, but what is being shown is astronomy results and equipment.

As I mentioned, I’m at the Sloan Digital Sky Survey exhibit booth. I’m in charge of it this meeting, so I should stay close – it’s good to have someone around at all times to answer questions from people that stop by. To my right is the booth for the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-Wave Astronomy (CARMA), and to my right is the booth for the International Year of Astronomy 2009. That’s a good reflection of the meeting, actually – both research and public understanding of science are represented.

My job at the booth is to answer questions from astronomers and others who stop by. Of course, lots of my colleagues know I’m here, so they stop by too, and we chat about various projects we’re working on. I wear lots of different hats, one of which is quite literal. I’m doing demos of SkyServer, our data access site called Cooking with Sloan. I wear a chef’s hat for the demo – I hope to have a photo up on the blog soon.


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