Sunday, May 13, 2012

On Dining Astronomers

Recently, as part of a Berkeley meeting, I had outdoors dinner with a group that comprised Astronomers. There was a  serious side to the conversation, but I am going to focus on the friv:
  • Breaking off from a conversating group, holding a drink, one of them said, "Excuse me, I have to go start a telescope."
  • Talking about the impact of research, one of them said, "I mean, it is NOT earth-shattering". It occurred to me that Astronomers should not aim for earth-shattering research.
  • Finally, one of said, "We have astronomical data". To a half spaced-out Computer Scientist, it sounded like data Beyond Big. 
The astronomers convinced me that their work is difficult, because they can ONLY observe and study the data: all mining and no experimentation, but still fun. Outdoors dinner meant mosquitos, but as someone pointed out, even mosquitos are laid back in Berkeley. 


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