Published on January 9th, 2013 | by Scott0
221st AAS Meeting
It’s now day four of the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society and there are have been many absolutely amazing talks, posters, exhibitors and conversations being had this year.
On Saturday and Sunday, there were many fantastic sessions with the focus on being better educators in the fields related to astronomy. Though this seems like this would be quite silly to have at a huge astronomy conference, administering efficient and effective education is extremely important when it comes to getting the general public aware of and interested in the world of astronomy along with the extremely wide reach that the science effects in our every day life. When we, collectively, are able to better understand science in general, we’re able to make much more informed decisions about the things that impact our lives on an intimate level.
What also made me extremely happy was the session: “How to be a better professor or Teaching assistant for your LGBT Students”. I don’t even have words on how happy I was to see that this session was being held at AAS. Though we all have an intense fervor for science and understanding the universe, sometimes we forget that we’re all humans working together to get this work done. Finding better ways to embrace all of humanity as we share our passion for the skies is crucial as we move forward in any of the STEM fields. Standing openly and stating that we’re not going to allow any harassment, that we’re going to advocate for the equal treatment of all people, and show that our human curiosity is what’s important when it comes to discovering the answer to the unknowns are all ways that each of us can make a difference in this world while still doing what we love.
On Monday, Dr. Pamela Gay, Dr. Nicole Gugliucci and myself got our CosmoQuest exhibit set up at the NASA HyperWall while we made our own rounds looking at the other exhibitors, posters and talks being given. Had the amazing opportunity to see Dr. Thad Szabo, one of our brilliant commentators from the Virtual Star Party, give his talk on Galaxy Clusters using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Though I had to go back and forth between campus, the first day was a large success and have had some great opportunities meeting amazing people from across the globe who love astronomy as much or *gasp* even more than I do!
Tuesday was the day I gave my poster presentation on the Virtual Star Parties as a conduit to the Citizen Science being done at CosmoQuest. Nicole Gugliucci also had her poster presentation with mine on how the CosmoQuest website has been doing with page views, user retention as well as traffic sources. Adding to the trifecta of CosmoQuest, Pamela gave her talk during the “Astronomy Outreach for Non-Traditional Audience” session about The CosmoQuest Citizen Science Community. Just when we didn’t think we could be any more CosmoQuest here at AAS221, Tony Darnell and Alberto Conti from The Space Telescope Science Institute brought us all into a Hangout On Air, discussing all things Science, Astronomy, CosmoQuest and Virtual Star Party. Though the connection eventually died, we had a great time in the Hangout and continued with recording video that will be placed onto YouTube later on.
There’s so much going on that it’s difficult to encapsulate ALL THE THINGS into a post. Keep an eye on the Twitter hashtag #AAS221 as well as all of us that are on Google+. I’ll catch up with you all later!